Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Human Rights Watch @HRW releases another false (and vindictive) anti-Israel report

The latest Human Rights Watch report is again a piece of theater. It believes wholeheartedly what Palestinians accuse Israel of, it doubts everything Israel says, and it pretends to understand human rights laws that it has no idea of.

The first 12 pages or so is a discussion of human rights laws under occupation. The report concentrates on the Right of Peaceful Assembly,  Right to Freedom of Association and Right to Freedom of Expression, saying that all West Bank Palestinians do not have these rights. However, the 95% of Palestinians who live under Palestinian Authority rule can and do create mass anti-Israel rallies, complete with people dressing as terrorists with guns and masks.

A centerpiece of HRW's legal argument is this:

Article 43 of the Hague Regulations of 1907, recognized by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg and the International Court of Justice as having the force of customary international law binding on all states, outlines the powers and responsibilities of an occupying power:

The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.

This provision authorizes an occupying power to take restrictive measures that are militarily necessary to ensure its own safety, but also requires the occupier to restore and ensure public life for the benefit of the occupied population. Measures that are militarily necessary are those likely to “accomplish a legitimate purpose and are not otherwise prohibited by international humanitarian law.”
What HRW doesn't tell you is that the person who determines whether an action falls under the definition of "military necessity" is the field commander in charge, and he or she is given a great deal of latitude in that determination (obviously not to the point of violating any other humanitarian law rules.) It is not up to HRW or professors or other NGOs to look at a situation with the luxury of hindsight and determine whether something was a military necessity.

...In calling on occupiers to “ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety,” Article 43 requires an occupier to use all practical means at its disposal to minimize the impact of its actions on the local population. The logical corollary of this article is that the means available to an occupier increase with the duration of an occupation. A foreign army occupying a village for a month or a year may be limited in the sophistication of the security measures it adopts, for lack of time, resources, and familiarity with the location and population under occupation. A foreign army, though, occupying a territory for decades, has more time and opportunity to refine its responses to threats to the security of its forces in ways that minimize restrictions on rights and freedoms. The longer the occupation, the greater the ability and therefore the obligation to arrive at security measures that minimize impact on the local population.
This is HRW's major argument that Israel has not done all it can to provide for freedoms of the Palestinian population - because during a short occupation there may be very restrictive measures taken but over time it is the responsibility of the occupier to refine the methods to help the population have more public order and safety.

There is one major flaw in this argument: since 1987, every couple of years, a new wave of violence erupts that forces Israel to go back to a more restrictive rule. HRW simply doesn't admit the existence of the two intifadas,or the later car ramming and stabbing sprees, or the violent weekly riots, as a factor in what Israel is allowed to do to protect its soldiers and Israeli civilians.

Anyone who looks at the freedom of Palestinians under Israeli rule from 1967 to 1987 would see that they indeed gained more and more freedoms - until the first intifada.

This report does not even mention the word "intifada" once. It does not mention the word "riots." It doesn't mention "Molotov cocktails" or "firebombs." In other words, HRW strips Israeli security force actions and decisions of any context.

There is far more, of course.

HRW, when discussing the case of Nariman Tamimi, says

Officers interrogated Nariman three other times, each time returning to her "incitement." She said they also asked her about her Facebook posts, some dating as far back as seven years, of Palestinians who carried out attacks against Israelis or were killed by Israeli forces.
It puts "incitement" in scare quotes and trusts her to say what the IDF considered her incitement.

She didn't mention sharing this handy guide on how to stab someone effectively:

HRW may know about this (one of many offensive posts by Nariman) but they would never share it, because it undermines their lies.

Another innocent victim of Israeli capriciousness is "artist" Hafez Omar. HRW doesn't mention that his posters glorify violence as the only way to freedom:

This report was of course written by Omar Shakir, whose work permit was revoked by Israel. Ever since the, Shakir and HRW have embarked on a vindictive crusade against Israel - as always, at the expense of real human rights abuses happening within a couple of hundred miles of Israel's borders.

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