On Thursday, Amnesty International accused Hezbollah militants of breaking international humanitarian law by firing thousands of rockets into Israel and killing dozens of civilians during the war.
Hezbollah rejected Amnesty's charges.
However, Hezbollah legislator Hassan Fadlallah acknowledged his group targeted civilians in Israeli cities, saying it was a response to Israeli attacks in Lebanon.
"We do not deny that we have bombarded Israeli cities, settlements and infrastructure. But this was always a reaction," he said in an interview by telephone with Al-Jazeera. "It was a natural reaction. When a state is invaded, it must defend itself."
Fadlallah said Amnesty International probably came under American and Israeli pressure to issue a report critical of Hezbollah 's actions during the 34-day war, after issuing a similar report against Israel last month.
The firing of rockets into urban areas in northern Israel violated international laws that call for distinction between civilian and military targets, Amnesty said.
"Targeting civilians is a war crime. There's no gray area," said Larry Cox, Amnesty's executive director in the United States.
But Fadlallah rejected the charges.
"The act was begun by Israel," he said. "How could we confront the Israeli aggression? With roses? The resistance (Hezbollah) said that the bombardment of Haifa was in response to the bombardment of Dahiyeh (Beirut's southern suburbs)."
First of all, Fadlallah is considering Hezbollah a part and parcel of Lebanon's defenses, or else his statement "when a state is invaded, it must defend itself" makes no sense.
Secondly, by his logic, one is allowed to target civilians in reaction to an aggressive act. By that logic, Israel would have been perfectly justified in killing many, many more civilians, since they were reactiong to an attack on their territory.
Thirdly, it is interesting to note that he feels that the only reason that Amnesty International would dare to write a report critical of Hezbollah is because of pressure from America. And he is right! AI wrote scathing condemnations of Israel immediately after (and during) the war, and waited a full month before releasing a report on the most obvious Hezbollah violation of international law (they haven't yet found the time to write a report on using civilians as human shields.) So his anger that AI, normally in league with the terrorists, would dare to criticize the freedom-fighting darlings of the Left is quite consistent.
The Boston Herald notices Amnesty's reluctant condemnation of terror as well:
Does AI now recognize that, if it is going to be taken seriously, and hopes not be to broomed out of the room with its upcoming report on Israeli actions, there is no way it can ignore that blatant and purposeful crimes of Hezbollah?Is this the result of earnest introspection and a sense of proportionality or is it a matter of angling for position and credibility?