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Thursday, December 20, 2012

HRW gives benefit of doubt to terrorists, but accuses Israel without proof

The latest HRW report condemning Israel reveals, within its own text, how biased the organization is towards Israel and how "fair" it is with terror groups.

First, look how they characterize Israel's actions in the first paragraph:
Four Israeli attacks on journalists and media facilities in Gaza during the November 2012 fighting violated the laws of war by targeting civilians and civilian objects that were making no apparent contribution to Palestinian military operations.
There is no caveat. HRW is stating, as a fact, that Israel targeted civilians, without any knowledge of what Israel was actually targeting.

HRW's reading of international law is flawed - read this invaluable NGO Monitor article that explains exactly why - and its "evidence" is laughable.

The two men’s families, interviewed separately, said the men were neither participating in the fighting nor members of any armed group. Human Rights Watch found no evidence, including during visits to the men’s homes, to contradict that claim. Hamas’s armed wing, al-Qassam Brigades, has not put either man on its official list of killed fighters– an unlikely omission if the men had been playing a military role.

HRW's "investigation" is talking to families of suspected terrorists, seeing if there is any "evidence" in their homes (what are they looking for, rockets?) and saying that Hamas hasn't put them in their list of "martyrs." This last point should note that Hamas has been adding "martyrs" to their list as recently as this week, and those killed in Cast Lead were often posted many months after the fighting.

But this is enough for HRW to make definitive statements that Israel targeted civilians.

Now, look at how HRW reports this other incident where Israel bombed a media building:

A second and separate attack on the third floor of the Shoruq Building on the afternoon of November 19 appeared to target specific Palestinian militants, who, if present, would have been unlawfully placing the building’s civilian occupants at risk, Human Rights Watch said. The IDF apparently contacted at least one international journalist in the building to warn them to evacuate.
All of a sudden, when there is evidence of Islamic Jihad violating the laws of armed conflict, HRW is hedging. "Appeared," "would be," "if present," "apparently" - all phrases that it doesn't use in reference to Israeli actions.

Later on, we see that HRW knows very well that Islamic Jihad terrorists were there:

A second attack that afternoon on the building’s third floor appears to have been on a military target, killing one member of Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, Ramez Hareb. If Palestinians involved in military operations were meeting in the Shoruq Tower, as the IDF claimed, they were placing civilians at unnecessary risk in violation of the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said.
Now, the IDF gave out a list of the people it was targeting on that floor of that building, including Hareb:
  • Baha Abu al-Ata: Commander of Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Gaza City Brigade; involved in planning attacks against Israel, arms manufacturing and long-range rocket launching capabilities
  • Tissir Mahmoud Mahmed Jabari: Senior Islamic Jihad operative; responsible for training within the organization and approving terrorist attacks against Israel
  • Halil Batini: Senior Islamic Jihad operative; a key figure in planning the group’s long-range rocket launching operations; responsible for internal security
  • Ramez Harab: Responsible for propaganda in Islamic Jihad’s Gaza City Brigade; an aide to Tissir Jabari; the former head of the Sheikh Rajuan Division
Obviously, the IDF had good intelligence on who was in that building - yet HRW doesn't even lift a finger to investigate whether Islamic Jihad was performing a war crime!

This also proves that the IDF was obviously not targeting people indiscriminately, and that it had specific military targets in mind. HRW's blanket statement that they were not military targets shows that it would not believe anything the IDF says, no matter what, unless they can twist it into making it look guilty.

HRW - in its own words, in its own report - consistently gives the benefit of the doubt to Islamic Jihad and Hamas terror groups, but gives no such slack to the IDF which is accuses, without any reservation, of war crimes.

If that isn't bias, then I don't know what is.