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Amnesty International—Israel Committed War Crimes

November 11, 2014

“Save me, Lord, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.”  (Psalm 120:2)

Amnesty International has released a report charging Israel with “callous indifference” in its defensive attacks on the Gaza Strip during Operation Defensive Edge.

The report called “Families under the Rubble: Israeli Attacks on Inhabited Homes” was actually not written by Amnesty staff but by local contractors mentioned only as “field workers.”

The report excuses Hamas’ building of military targets in civilian areas while claiming that the IDF purposely targeted civilian homes causing 2,100 Palestine deaths.

destruction Hamas Shujaiya Gaza

Hamas has developed an extensive terrorist infrastructure in Shuja’iya, a densely populated residential neighborhood of Gaza City that is close to the Karni Crossing. It is just over the border fence from the Israeli community of Kibbutz Nahal Oz.  Since 2007, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) have struggled for supremacy in Shuja’iya, turning it into a terrorist fortress complete with weapons stockpiles, missile launching sites, and a network of terrorist tunnels for attacking Israel.

Additionally, the Amnesty report, which does not back its claims with evidence and never once mentions the terrorist tunnels connected to these civilian homes, ignores the documented evidence that links Hamas to war crimes in the use of human shields and the storage and firing of ammunition from schools, hospitals, mosques and civilian neighborhoods in Gaza at Israeli population centers.

“The report does not mention the word terror in relation to Hamas or other armed Palestinian groups, nor mentions tunnels built by Hamas to infiltrate Israel and perpetrate terror attacks,” the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated.

“By ignoring the nature of the enemy Israel faced in Gaza—a terror group recognized as such by the European Union, the United States and others—Amnesty’s report fails to contribute to the important discussion needed to solve the conflict. Instead, Amnesty serves as a propaganda tool for Hamas and other terror groups,” the MFA continued.

IDF Paratroopers Disable Terrorist Tunnel Networks in Gaza

An Israeli soldier enters a Hamas tunnel to disable its capacity to be used in acts of terrorism against Israel.

The biased Amnesty report dismisses Israel’s security challenges, emphasizing Gaza’s civilian casualties.

“Israeli forces killed scores of Palestinian civilians in attacks targeting houses full of families, which in some cases have amounted to war crimes,” says the report.

The report claims that it has eight documented cases of attacks on homes that were made without warning that caused the deaths of “at least 104 civilians including 62 children.”

The report accuses Israel of “using large aerial bombs to level civilian homes, sometimes killing entire families.”  

While a study released by the Meir Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) reported that 49% of those killed were terrorists, Amnesty’s number is only 25%.

Hamas Uses Human Shields-IDF info graphic

An IDF info graphic illustrates Hamas’ complete disregard for civilians.  While Israel protected Israeli civilians and warned Gazans of incoming rockets, Hamas placed civilians directly in the line of fire, using them as human shields.

While admitting that in several cases possible military targets were involved, the director of Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Program, Philip Luther, concluded that “even if a fighter had been present in one of these residential homes, it would not absolve Israel of its obligation to take every feasible precaution to protect the lives of civilians caught up in the fighting.

“The repeated, disproportionate attacks on homes indicate that Israel’s current military tactics are deeply flawed and fundamentally at odds with the principles of international humanitarian law.”  (amnesty)

Luther added that “Israeli forces have brazenly flouted the laws of war by carrying out a series of attacks on civilian homes, displaying callous indifference to the carnage caused” and giving civilians “no chance to flee.”

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, US General Martin Dempsey

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, US General Martin Dempsey

US General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff responded to the report by noting that Israel went to “extraordinary lengths” to prevent civilian casualties adding that the Israel Defense Forces “did what they could” to avoid the casualties.

This includes the “roof-knocking method,” in which a dud rocket was launched onto the roof of a building or home, giving fair warning to those inside to evacuate.  In addition, the IDF dropped leaflet warnings and made phone calls in numerous attacks.  Yet, Amnesty based its entire report and conclusions on only eight incidents.

Dempsey added that the early warning efforts were so impressive that the US sent a delegation to Israel three months ago “to include the measures they [Israel] took to prevent civilian casualties and what they did with tunneling.”

“The IDF is not interested in creating civilian casualties,” Dempsey said.  “They’re interested in stopping the shooting of rockets and missiles out of the Gaza Strip and into Israel.”  (BIN)

The Amnesty report did concede, however, that “Palestinian armed groups also committed war crimes, firing thousands of indiscriminate rockets into Israel killing six civilians including one child.”

An Israeli kindergarten in Beersheva is struck by a Hamas missile.

The devastation of this Israeli kindergarten in Beersheva was caused by a Hamas missile.

Amnesty International called on the United Nations Security Council to refer the incidents to the International Criminal Court for investigation.  It does not mention the 47 completed investigations or the 50 or so underway by Israel’s new, heavily staffed Fact Finding Assessment mechanism.

The Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor that monitors nongovernmental organizations said in a press release that the Amnesty International report lacks professional investigatory methodology and that the group holds a “documented bias against Israel.”

NGO Monitor’s legal adviser Anne Herzberg said that the report uses UN statistics for the number of civilian casualties and that these figures “essentially come from Hamas.”

 She added that the UN “appears only to get total figures from Gaza sources, without asking for back-up, like a full list of the names” of casualties.  (JPost)

The report also fails to note that some of the “attacks” were actually missile misfires within Gaza by Hamas.

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