#alNuseirat: Israeli warplane bombed house without warning, 14 civilians killed http://t.co/1CbnwsDVBO #50Days4Gaza pic.twitter.com/Q45OkqxOso— AmnestyInternational (@AmnestyOnline) July 31, 2015
Looking at the episode in Amnesty's Gaza Platform, we see that Amnesty researched the incident itself, and while it reached a biased conclusion, the most relevant facts were purposely excluded from the tweet:
Alaa al-Assar told Amnesty International’s fieldworker that there was no fighting in the area on the day of the attack and that no one living in the al-Bayoumi building was involved in any military activities, nor affiliated politically with any faction.This terrorist, Shadi Muhammad Jumaa Abu Zaher, seems to be one of the Hamas members killed in the attack. His name was not released in any list of fatalities, making him one of many Hamas militants whom Hamas hid from researchers like Amnesty to make attacks like this one appear to be purely against civilians. 100 such Hamas members have been identified so far by the Meir Amit ITIC. This research is available to everyone, including Amnesty International.
However, two neighbours maintained that, following the attack, they found out that at least four members of the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, including a battalion commander and a communications officer, were apparently using the empty apartment in the building for some time prior to the attack. One of them was said to have been killed in the attack on the al-Bayoumi home, but his name is not known to Amnesty International and does not appear in the list of named individuals killed below. It was said that another was injured in the attack, while two others escaped and were killed in an attack on a nearby mosque. Amnesty International has been unable to verify this information.
However, even if the empty flat in the al-Bayoumi building was used by the al-Qassam Brigades, the loss of civilian life in this attack was clearly disproportionate. The survivors of the attack said that they received no warning and the Israeli army has made no statement concerning either the intended target or any warning given. The Israeli forces were under an obligation to take all feasible precautions, including – given the large number of civilians present – calling off the attack or issuing a warning to the building’s residents and those of neighbouring buildings to evacuate, before carrying out the attack.
Notice how Amnesty puts in caveats around two independent testimonies saying that this was a Hamas command and control center, while most of its reporting in the same document quotes Gazans who accuse Israel of crimes without any questioning of their facts.
Amnesty here is knowingly lying about the laws of armed conflict. By saying that "the loss of civilian life in this attack was clearly disproportionate" in relation to the military value of the building, without knowing what the military value was, is simply libel.
As we have shown, under international law, an attack on a communications hub in Serbia that was only knocked out for a single day was not considered a violation of the laws of armed conflict even though the number of fatalities were higher than this instance. Amnesty's claim of "clearly disproportionate" is flatly wrong. The entire reason Israel did not give warning in this case - as opposed to hundreds of other cases - was obviously because this was a high-value military target.
There was a violation of international law here, though.
Hamas was using the Bayoumi family and others as human shields. Amnesty gathered the evidence proving that Hamas chose a residential building to build a command center and station at least four militants there. Yet instead of blaming Hamas for putting the families at risk- precisely because international law does not tie the hands of an army when the value of a valid military target is high - Amnesty makes up its own international law and accuses Israel of violating it.
Amnesty could have at least mentioned that two witnesses said that this was a Hamas military center. Instead, its tweet was designed to castigate Israel even though Amnesty knows the facts are being badly misrepresented by this tweet. And they assume, correctly, that few will research the actual incident.
Which proves, yet again, how little Amnesty shows regard for the truth when it comes to Israel.