Monday, August 24, 2015

  • Monday, August 24, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
This one-year anniversary tweet came from Amnesty-USA-Israel/OPT/PA as well as from Amnesty-USA-MENA:

It sounds like Israel killed and injured many people just to strike three ordinary run-of-the-mill militants,

But if you look up the incident, here are the targets, as described by Al Akhbar:

Hamas suffered a severe blow on Thursday when Israeli warplanes managed to assassinate three of its top commanders. They were: Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Mohammed Barhoum, and Raed al-Attar, who commanded Rafah's military brigade and had been one of the top figures on the occupation army's hit list for a quarter of a century.

According to Israeli intelligence reports, Attar – born in 1974 and a father of two – heads al-Qassam's commando unit and is in charge of smuggling weapons from the Sinai into Gaza. According to Yediot Ahronot, Attar was one of the most powerful Hamas leaders and was in charge of the Rafah region on the Egyptian border. The area is where Hamas built the tunnels, which provided them with the necessary equipment and supplies to build their military capacity.

Informed sources from al-Qassam's leadership told Al-Akhbar that Attar was one of the Brigades’ security masterminds. He was behind dozens of operations, in addition to Shalit's capture. The sources maintained that he supervised and ran the Rafah battle without fear, especially in al-Zanna area to the east, inflicting heavy losses on the enemy.

The sources explained that targeting Attar and two other al-Qassam commanders in Rafah meant that Hamas suffered a serious blow in southern Gaza, due to the military status of the three leaders.

Israel succeeded in eliminating one of the most wanted people on its intelligence lists since 1991. He was 41-year-old martyr Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, aka Abu Khalil; a member of Hamas’s supreme military council, head of the al-Qassam Brigades in South Gaza and one of the founders of the Brigades in the city of Rafah.

...According to Israeli sources, Abu Shamaleh was the most important among those it murdered yesterday. He had been involved in several attacks against the occupation and supervised several operations in Barakin al-Ghadab, Mahfouza, Jardoun, Tarmid, and al-Wahm al-Mutabaddid in which Shalit was captured. He was also a prominent commander in al-Furqan, Hijarat al-Sijjil, and al-Asf al-Makoul battles.

...As soon as the martyrdom of 45-year-old Mohammed Barhoum, aka Abu Osama – one of the most influential al-Qassam Brigades founders in Rafah – was announced, al-Qassam Brigades issued a statement eulogizing him as one of the leaders of the first generation of Brigade members.

..He also planned and organized several suicide operations inside the 1948-occupied territories, until Israel announced its withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.

The withdrawal allowed Barhoum to assist the Brigades leadership in southern Gaza to design and develop locally-made missiles. According to sources, the martyred commander had a profound impact on the development of the Brigades’ missiles system. This was in addition to his supervision of several tunnels in the far south of Rafah, on the borders with Sinai.
All three were top leaders. They are the very definition of valid targets. (Interestingly, Al Akhbar doesn't say a word about the civilians killed.)

Any military leader would agree that the unfortunate deaths of civilians is an unfortunate but necessary consequence of hitting such high value targets. International law does not intend to handcuff armies from doing their jobs. But the standard of what is appropriate both for the principle of distinction and the principle of proportion is what a reasonable military commander would do given all available information at the time.

Amnesty is suggesting jettisoning real international law. It has a skewed idea of what international law is, seemingly with the goal of making it literally impossible for Israel to defend itself.

One other piece of hypocrisy. Amnesty is pretending with this tweet to care so much about the lives of the civilians killed in this attack. But it has nothing negative to say about Hamas commanders - all of which had been previously targeted for assassination, and who therefore know that they were high-value targets - choosing to hide in a house filled with civilians and children.

Isn't that against international law also? Indeed it is. But amnesty will not say anything negative about them.

When a "human rights' organization sides with known, proven terrorists against a modern state with lots of checks and balances in its army, it has no right to call itself a "human rights" organization.

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