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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hamas not happy with Amnesty International

Amnesty International yesterday came out with a brief document about Hamas' campaign against "collaborators" in Gaza during December and January (and also a somewhat more detailed document.)
Since the end of December 2008, during and after the three-week Israeli military offensive which killed some 1,300 Palestinians, most of them civilians, Hamas forces and militias in the Gaza Strip have carried out a deadly campaign of abductions, deliberate and unlawful killings, torture and death threats against those they accuse of “collaborating” with Israel, as well as opponents and critics, Amnesty International revealed in a new document today.

At least two dozen men have been shot dead by Hamas gunmen and scores of others have been shot in the legs, kneecapped or inflicted with other injuries intended to cause permanent disability, subjected to severe beatings which have caused multiple fractures and other injuries, or otherwise tortured or ill-treated.

Most were abducted from their homes and later dumped – dead or injured – in isolated areas, or found in the morgue of one of Gaza’s hospitals. Some were shot dead in hospitals where they were receiving treatment for injuries.

An Amnesty International fact-finding team which visited Gaza during and after the Israeli offensive recorded testimonies from a number of victims, as well as medical sources and eyewitnesses who were able to corroborate their stories. Scores of others are too afraid to speak publicly for fear of retribution by Hamas forces and militias.

Amnesty International is calling on the Hamas de-facto administration to immediately end the campaign of abuses and to agree to the establishment of an independent, impartial and non-partisan national commission of experts to investigate them.

The more detailed report concludes:
There is incontrovertible evidence that Hamas security forces and armed militias have been responsible for grave human rights abuses and that the victims of such abuses and many others are being intimidated and discouraged from testifying about their ordeal. The Hamas de-facto administration has displayed a flagrant disregard for the most fundamental human rights norms, not only allowing such abuses to be perpetrated, but actually facilitating and encouraging the abuses by justifying them and by granting absolute impunity to the perpetrators.

Hamas isn't happy. Al Quds reports:
Hamas on Wednesday criticized an Amnesty International report, which accuses the group of waging a campaign against Fatah militants,as "unfair."

A spokesman for Hamas, Fawzi Barhoum, said in a press statement that "the Amnesty International report, accusing the Hamas movement of abuses in Gaza, is unfair." He said the organization's position is based on "imaginary stories fabricated by the well [?] and to hear some of the accusers of Hamas without hearing the other side's point of view is incompatible with the basic foundations professionalism and impartiality." Barhoum said, "This report directly affects the reputation of the Hamas movement and detracts from attention to the massacres and war crimes committed against our people."

It's funny that Hamas is worried about its reputation. Throwing people off of buildings is OK, but publicizing it just looks bad.

It should be noted that while Amnesty has no shortage of similar documents accusing Israel of various abuses, in the context of the Gaza operation this has been the only negative thing I could find that they have mentioned about Hamas.

In other words, nothing about Qassam rockets, nothing about Hamas terrorists attacking while dressed as civilians, nothing about Hamas hijacking ambulances to transport terrorists, or shooting from mosques and schools, or stockpiling weapons in public institutions, or recruiting minors as fighters. All things for which there is far more evidence - photographic, video, Hamas admissions and eyewitness testimony - than for what they accuse Israel of.

It is interesting that Amnesty cannot find as of yet anything bad that Hamas did against Israel, but only what they did to "collaborators."

But Amnesty will take this criticism by Hamas as proof that it is being "even-handed."