Once again, Human Rights Watch has issued a report on how evil Israel is, this time in context of the Gaza riots.
And once again it shows that the point of the organization isn’t human rights but attacking Israel.
A careful reading of the report shows that they know they are lying.
Israeli forces’ repeated use of lethal force in the Gaza Strip since March 30, 2018, against Palestinian demonstrators who posed no imminent threat to life may amount to war crimes, Human Rights Watch said today. Israeli forces have killed more than 100 protesters in Gaza and wounded thousands with live ammunition.
“Israel’s use of lethal force when there was no imminent threat to life has taken a heavy toll in life and limb,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The international community needs to rip up the old playbook, where Israel conducts investigations that mainly whitewash the conduct of its troops and the US blocks international accountability with its Security Council veto, and instead impose real costs for such blatant disregard for Palestinian lives.”
Yet later on HRW admits that the Israeli Supreme Court has looked at Israel’s open fire regulations and decided they were within the law, so this is beyond any supposed “whitewash” by the IDF. So HRW attacks the well-respected court as well:
On May 25 Israel’s supreme court rejected petitions by human rights groups against the military’s live-fire orders without applying the clear standard on the use of lethal force set out in international human rights law, and substantially deferring to the government’s discretion. The court’s unwillingness to apply international law and to challenge a policy that authorizes lethal force even when there is no imminent threat to life highlights the importance of the International Criminal Court prosecutor opening a formal investigation into the situation in Palestine.
Yes, HRW is claiming that the Supreme Court is ignoring the law.
In another place, HRW mentions Israel’s legal arguments that were apparently supported by the Supreme Court:
The government response rejected applying human rights law applicable in law enforcement to the demonstrations, and claimed that only international humanitarian law, applicable in fighting in armed conflicts, applies, because the protests were “organized, coordinated and directed by Hamas, a terrorist organization engaged in armed conflict with Israel.”
HRW states as a fact that these demonstrations fall under “human rights law and not the laws of armed conflict. Israel gives a specific reason why this is not true. Israel’s Supreme Court agrees with Israel. HRW ignores that and insists that Israel adhere to a standard that they are not required to meet – and HRW condemns Israel on the basis of the false premise of which laws Israel is obligated to meet.
But that isn’t enough. HRW says on the one hand that Israel should use the more restrictive human rights laws rather than the laws of war – in its headline it accuses Israel of “war crimes!” This inconsistency is only possible because HRW only has one consistency – find ways to blame Israel no matter what, and change the yardstick to measure Israel against as needed.
HRW quotes Israel’s position later, and does not come up with any substantive arguments against it except its own gut instinct that Israel is lying:
Israeli officials argued that Hamas directed protesters to cross the fences so that armed fighters could run through the breach to kill or kidnap Israeli civilians or soldiers. The Israeli military spokesperson, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, said on May 15 that there was “no dilemma” in deciding between “having a lower amount of Palestinian casualties,” and using lethal force in order to “defend Israeli communities immediately behind the [Gaza perimeter fences].” The government’s April 29 court response elaborated that soldiers could use “potentially lethal force” to prevent protesters from breaching the fences and crossing from Gaza to Israel if “the evaluation is that the force is necessary at that time to remove the danger before it is realized, even if the danger itself has not yet become imminent,” and that shooting demonstrators before they reach the fences is justified because if crowds breached them, it would “operationally require live fire on a massive scale.”
…Israeli concerns that members of armed groups would use the protests as cover to fire at Israeli soldiers or plant explosives near the fences do not justify the repeated use of live ammunition, including with apparent lethal intent, against protesters who posed no imminent lethal threat, Human Rights Watch said.
HRW is making guesses on why the IDF targeted who they targeted. They trust Gazans to tell the truth about what the people who were shot were doing. They push the idea that invading another country is not reason to be shot.
Netanyahu referred to a May 15 statement by a Hamas leader, Salah al-Bardawil, that 50 of 62 people killed by Israeli forces on May 14 were Hamas members – “in other words, members of a terrorist organization,” Netanyahu said. Israeli military and political officials also claimed that Hamas “strategically placed [civilians] in harm’s way” because graphic media coverage of their injuries would harm Israel’s image. Hamas’s encouragement of and support for the protests and the participation of Hamas members in the protests do not justify the use of live ammunition against protestors who posed no threat to life.
HRW again is twisting the facts. The Hamas members who were indeed further from the fence were directing civilians to cut the fence and to provide smoke cover for the fence cutters. This is a military operation, and targeting the people who were giving the military orders is perfectly legal in an armed conflict (as is targeting those who are trying to invade your country.)
The fact that the military leaders were wearing civilian clothing, a violation of international law, doesn’t bother HRW.
Perhaps most outrageously, HRW implies that even if masses of Gazans poured through a breached fence into Israel, then Israel still wouldn’t have the right to defend itself:
In addition to the barbed wire fence separating Gaza and Israel, the two-meter-high fencing with electronic sensors, ditches, and military watchtowers along the Gaza periphery, in 2015 the Israeli military built fences around 12 Israeli communities near Gaza with electronic sensors that detect any contact with the fence and automatically alert the military. This further undercuts the claim that the protesters posed an imminent treat.
How, exactly, would the IDF stop thousands of Gazans who were instructed to attack Jews with knives once they were already in Israel – especially when HRW says that the IDF isn’t allowed to shoot them even then?
HRW simply doesn’t care about the facts. It wrote the headline of accusing Israel of possible war crimes before it even talked to a single Gazan to support the argument. As always, it judges Israel to be guilty first, and then it looks for facts or half-truths to twist into justifying their initial accusation.
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