I cannot speak to all the details of the report right now, but one part is clear: HRW fully believes the "eyewitness" accounts of liars.
They interviewed the Abed Rabbo family, whose previous statements to reporters were found to be incredibly inconsistent. The fact that HRW is so credulous when many have noted the inconsistencies shows that their research is pretty shoddy. At the very least they should have addressed the issue, but of course that is not HRW's aim.
One simple example: HRW says that
Seven neighborhood residents who spoke to Human Rights Watch said that major fighting in the area had stopped by the morning of January 7, although sporadic exchanges of fire may have continued after that.Time magazine's report mentions a salient fact that HRW chose to ignore:
Most residents of Jebel al-Kashif claim there were no Hamas fighters in the area at the time of the alleged incident, but a middle-aged farmer in a battered army jacket took me aside and said, in a near whisper, that Hamas had been firing rockets from the vicinity of where the episode took place.Now, who is more credible? The farmer has nothing to gain by lying, but the Abed Rabbo family - who are members of Fatah and who had earlier told a PA newspaper that Hamas was using them as human shields - just might not want to antagonize their tormenters.
Why are none of these facts mentioned by HRW when it relates the story of the Abed Rabbo sisters told by a family with very shaky credibility?
The reason is, of course, that HRW wants to find human rights abuses and "war crimes," and will ignore evidence to the contrary.
NGO Monitor's critique of the report can be found here.
UPDATE: Here's video of a terrorist trying to get away from the IDF by using a white flag, something HRW seems to not have known about during the past seven months.
(h/t Richard Landes of Augean Stables via email)