A moral obligationAnne Herzberg takes down the NGO's and the Goldstone Report for their inaccurate casualty figures as now acknowledged by Hamas itself.
In a November 2010 interview given by Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hamad to the Al-Hayat newspaper, Hamas acknowledged that 600-700 Hamas members were killed in the Gaza fighting – more than double the number of combatants published by the NGOs’ and Richard Goldstone’s unreliable version of events.But of course, no such acknowledgment has been forthcoming from those who consider themselves the World's moral guardians, and none is likely to be forthcoming.
With these new revelations by Hamas, NGOs, media correspondents, UN officials, and others that presented the NGO statistics as authoritative should now issue corrections.
In a November 2010 lecture at the University of Nebraska, Human Rights Watch founder Robert Bernstein noted the new Hamas numbers and their impact on the credibility of NGO reports: “It will be interesting to see if the Goldstone Report and Human Rights Watch reports are reevaluated by them.”
Indeed, Goldstone and these NGOs have a moral obligation to immediately acknowledge that their allegations against Israel were unsupported.
In particular, NGOs and Goldstone used their unsupported casualty claims as the sole basis for charges of “disproportionate” or “indiscriminate” Israeli attacks against Gaza civilians, even though under international law, the number of casualties is not a dispositive factor in determining whether war crimes were committed.Will the NGO's ever acknowledge their distortions? Will the UN? Will Goldstone? Don't hold your breath waiting.
Instead, international law requires assessments of what was known to military commanders prior to an attack, such as enemy locations, presence of military objects, presence of civilians, anticipated harm to civilians, military advantage, and evidence of intent.
NGOs ignored these aspects because they did not posses the expertise or access to information that would allow them to make these assessments – and because more complex evaluations would conflict with their political agendas.
Instead, each NGO conveyed its version of events. B’Tselem alleged that 75% of those killed were civilians. PCHR originally claimed 70% and later increased to 85%, and DCI-PS alleged that Israel killed 352 “children” (PCHR claimed 313).
In reviewing the list, however, it is clear that many were actually members of Hamas’ Qassam Brigades or Islamic Jihad.
Shockingly, although DCI-PS claims to advocate for children’s rights, this group did not condemn the terror groups that enlisted child soldiers. NGO superpowers HRW and Amnesty International, along with the Goldstone report, accepted their various allegations as facts, including them in their condemnations and reports.
Some of the NGO attempts to boost the numbers of Palestinian civilian casualties were clearly absurd. B’Tselem accused the IDF of committing “war crimes” by “targeting” what Hamas defines as its police force. The NGO claimed that they were not combatants, because at the time of the IDF attack, they were undergoing a “training course” on “first aid” and “human rights.” In September 2009, B’Tselem revised this charge, belatedly admitting that “many police officers in the Gaza Strip [were] also members of the military wings of Palestinian armed groups.” Yet, by then, B’Tselem’s initial claims had been repeated and adopted by the media and copied in Goldstone’s report. Similarly, PCHR labeled many fighters as “civilians,” including Nizar Rayan and Said Siam, architects of Hamas’ military campaign.
But again, the media, the UN, and others disregarded this gross manipulation.
But please don't give any money to these people, please urge your friends not to give any money to these people, and most importantly, please don't assume they're telling the truth the next time.
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