Thursday, August 12, 2021

  • Thursday, August 12, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
After every Gaza conflict, Human Rights Watch issues massive (and usually multiple) reports accusing Israel of war crimes - and then a perfunctory report saying, yes, Palestinian armed groups may have also committed war crimes by shooting thousands of rockets towards Israeli civilian centers.

The May 2021 conflict is no exception. 

Human Rights Watch now has something that they can point to in order to claim that they are objective observers and not anti-Israel fanatics. 

Their whitewash report on Gaza rockets itself betrays their bias - against Israel.

For example:
In late July, Human Rights Watch reported on Israeli strikes in Gaza in May that accounted for 62 of the 129 or more Palestinian civilians who, according to the United Nations, were killed in Israeli strikes. Human Rights Watch found that these attacks violated the laws of war and amount to apparent war crimes. Human Rights Watch will soon release a report on Israeli airstrikes that destroyed or extensively damaged four high-rise towers in Gaza.
HRW always finds multiple angles to release multiple anti-Israel reports, but when it comes to Hamas and other terror groups - only the rockets. Its bias is clear when you look at the war crimes of Gaza groups that they don't report.

Nothing about Hamas using Gazans as human shields - in fact, HRW has issued different definitions of human shielding for Hamas and other international players to exonerate Hamas from that war crime.

Nothing about Gaza groups employing children as soldiers.

Even this report on Gaza rockets doesn't mention that they targeted Kerem Shalom, the main source for imports to Gaza, hurting their own people.

And this Gaza rocket report doesn't say a word about Hamas and other groups shooting rockets from civilian areas.

More bias is apparent in HRW's capsule summary of the events in May:

The May 2021 fighting followed efforts by Jewish settler groups to evict and confiscate the property of longtime Palestinian residents in East Jerusalem. Palestinians held demonstrations around East Jerusalem, and Israeli security forces fired teargas, stun grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets, injuring hundreds of Palestinians.

On May 10, Palestinian armed groups in Gaza started to launch rockets toward Israeli population centers. The Israeli military carried out attacks in the densely populated Gaza Strip with missiles, rockets, and artillery. Many of the attacks by the Israeli military and Palestinian armed groups used explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas. A ceasefire between the warring parties went into effect on May 21.
According to HRW, the fighting started in Jerusalem, and Hamas' claims that they shot hundreds of rockets to Israel in order to "defend" Jerusalem has validity. HRW believes Hamas statements, no matter how absurd.

The war started with Hamas rockets at Israeli civilians. But for  HRW, Israel always starts the war, and the facts must be twisted until they fit that narrative.

Note also that HRW doesn't mention any violence by the Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem - and elsewhere in Israel - before the war. Only Israelis are violent.

Beyond that, only Gaza is described as "densely populated" - even though Hamas rockets were aimed at Tel Aviv, which has a higher population density than the Gaza Strip.

Israel chooses weapons very specifically to avoid injuries to civilians, using the smallest possible explosive when targeting, for example, terrorists on a motorcycle. Hamas rockets are designed to spread as much damage as possible. HRW's equating the two is perverted.

This is the pattern of bias of HRW.

Also, while the Human Rights Watch report investigated one rocket that fell short in Gaza that killed seven people, it didn't investigate the multiple reports of other rocket fire that fell short and killed Gazans. Nor did it investigate other evidence of Hamas rockets falling short, like this classroom that Hamas pretended was hit by Israeli fire while the spray patterns indicate that it was a Gaza rocket.

When it comes to Israel, HRW goes out of its way to maximize its accusations. When it comes to Hamas, HRW goes out of its way to minimize them.

One other interesting observation from HRW's reports:

When an eyewitness in Gaza supports the Hamas narrative, their names are used. When they contradict the Hamas narrative, they are anonymous.

In the first report on Israel's alleged war crimes, buried deep in the report, HRW mentions:
One civilian living in the immediate area of the attack, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Human Rights Watch that a member of the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, was in the building at the time of the attack. 
In this report, HRW again does not mention the names of those interviewed in Gaza about the single rocket among nearly 700 that fell short that was investigated:

The wife of one of those killed said:

[My husband] ...told me he wouldn’t be delayed, as he was feeling tired. But he never came back.  

A local shop owner said:

People were gathering [on the street] watching the rockets in the sky. I saw a rocket spinning in the air and then it came down and exploded, about 10 meters from where I was standing. There was smoke. I saw the dead and injured. I couldn’t stand what I saw. I broke down.… I saw a child, Mohammed Shaban, whose eyes were bleeding.

A relative of another person killed said:

At about 6 p.m. I was standing near the entrance to the local market on Martyr Salah Dardona Street....Suddenly, I heard a barrage of rockets being fired and I looked up and saw them rise in the air. I saw one rocket rising in the shape of a spiral and then it came down in the middle of the street about 10 meters from where I was standing.
HRW doesn't mention that the reason that people want to remain anonymous it because if they gave their names, Hamas would persecute them. Furthermore, it never mentions the possibility that the "witnesses" it interviewed about Israeli airstrikes might be purposefully saying what Hamas wants them to say, which may prompt them to make highly improbable statements like seeing a high speed missile explode only one meter above the ground from meters away and not saying that it appeared to be a militant rocket.

The fact that Gaza civilians are afraid to talk freely to reporters and investigators is itself evidence of Hamas violations of human rights. But instead of calling this out, HRW meekly accedes to Hamas' dictates.

One other major difference between Human Rights Watch's anti-Israel reports and this whitewash report: 

HRW assumes that anything an Israeli official says is a lie. If Israel says that they were targeting a tunnel or a weapons cache or a Hamas leader, if HRW's crack team of militarily ignorant researchers cannot find their own corroboration, they will accuse Israel of not telling the truth. This assumption reaches almost comical proportions when HRW claims that there were no tunnels under the streets that Israel methodically bombed even when the evidence is apparent.

But when it comes to Hamas, HRW does not accuse them of lying. Hamas proudly admits that it targets Israeli civilian centers, so when HRW accuses Hamas of war crimes, they are not going beyond anything Hamas itself says. It doesn't investigate to contradict Hamas claims but to prove them.

HRW officials will point to this report as evidence that they take Hamas war crimes seriously. In fact, it is only proof that they take criticism of their overwhelming anti-Israel bias - which erodes their reputation - seriously.

It is a license for them to publish their next ten anti-Israel screeds.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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