Amnesty International calls for prosecution of Israeli war crimes in Gaza

Written By: - Date published: 12:05 pm, July 31st, 2015 - 13 comments
Categories: International, war - Tags: , ,

From Amnesty International’s website:

“On 8 July 2014, Israel launched a military offensive against the Gaza Strip for the third time in less than six years.

Over 50 days, both Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes and other serious breaches of international law. To date, neither side has held anyone to account.

During the war, Israeli forces fired tens of thousands of artillery and tank shells into densely populated residential areas, and launched air strikes on homes across the Gaza Strip, killing families inside in many cases. They struck schools sheltering civilians and attacked hospitals and medical workers, including ambulance staff trying to evacuate the dead and wounded.

On the other side, Palestinian armed groups fired thousands of rockets and mortars towards Israel, and also stored and fired munitions from residential areas of Gaza. Hamas forces executed at least 23 people in Gaza they accused of “collaborating”, and arrested and tortured others.

Today, we’re calling on the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to genuinely investigate all possible crimes and prosecute those responsible.”

13 comments on “Amnesty International calls for prosecution of Israeli war crimes in Gaza”

  1. Clean_power 1

    Where was AI during the rocket campaign launched by Palestinians against Israel?
    Did AI deounce the use of schools as arm depots by terrorist HamaS?

  2. swordfish 2

    False Equivalence.

    See Norman Finkelstein’s damning critique of Amnesty’s regression to Israeli apologetics.

    As Finkelstein argues: “In both absolute and relative terms, the scales of guilt appear to tilt heavily to the Israeli side”.

    For example:

    Fatalities (number) : Israel 73 (1 child), Gaza 2,200 (550 children)
    Fatalities (% Civilians) : Israel 8%, Gaza 70%

    Homes Destroyed : Israel 1, Gaza 18,000

    Damage to Civilian Infrastructure in $ : Israel $55 million, Gaza $4 Billion

    Despite this one-sided massacre, Amnesty actually devoted more pages to indicting Hamas than Israel, issuing 2 reports critiquing Israeli War Crimes and 2 somewhat more detailed ones condemning Hamas War Crimes. Astonishingly (and this is unprecedented for Amnesty in recent decades), the reports are largely grounded in official Israeli sources (Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website etc) while the findings of respected Gaza-based Human Rights Organisations went unmentioned. In other words, Amnesty used official Israeli propaganda outlets as authoritative sources.

    “The intriguing question”, Finkelstein concludes, “is how does Amnesty manage to turn this wildly imbalanced balance sheet into a “balanced” indictment of both parties to the conflict ?”

    • I agree. It feels very diplomatic and inoffensive to say “neither side is blameless”, but one side has one of the most advanced militaries in the world and the endorsement/protection of the United States. The other side has a few rockets, and is kept in a state of terror, economic dependency and constant surveillance.

      The power imbalance is so severe that it can’t go unstated if we really want to address the situation.

      • swordfish 2.1.1

        Up until the late 80s, Human Rights groups had a strong tendency to either whitewash or, at the very least, maintain a discreet silence on Israel’s war crimes and human rights violations.

        Israel’s systematic torture of Palestinian detainees***, for instance, only came to light when the London Sunday Times published an investigative report. Nothing from Amnesty or Human Rights Watch etc.

        In the mid-late 80s, things started to change. Partly due to the obvious and very public nature of Israel’s brutal repression of the Palestinians’ largely non-violent First Intifada, partly a consequence of vigorous new independent Israeli, Palestinian and international Human Rights Organisations emerging and partly because the older, established ones were beginning to stiffen their resistance to external pressures (both from the US Government and Wealthy Zionist benefactors who threatened to withhold funding).

        For the last two-and-a-half decades, Amnesty have issued some pretty rigorous, honest, meticulously-documented reports on Israel-Palestine, so this latest effort is a severe disappointment. The fact that Israel made the strategic decision to bar Amnesty and all other human rights groups from entering Gaza after the massacre may well have played a role in this. Amnesty was thus prevented from checking the veracity of official Israeli exculpations. But that doesn’t even remotely justify Amnesty’s subsequent reports.

        As Finkelstein says: “Amnesty’s neutrality ends up incentivising Israeli non-cooperation: if granting human rights organisations entry into Gaza will enable them to document Israeli crimes, isn’t it prudent state policy to bar these organisations altogether and settle for an agnostic verdict from them ?”

        *** Israel was the only Country in the World where torture was deemed legal.

    • swordfish 2.2

      Finkelstein is serialising his forensic analysis of the 4 Amnesty Reports on Operation Protective Edge on his website…http://normanfinkelstein.com/

      Here’s Part One… https://www.byline.com/project/13/article/149
      Part Two… https://www.byline.com/project/13/article/163
      Part Three… https://www.byline.com/project/13/article/170

      6 Parts currently posted.

      For a quick overview: see these interviews here… http://normanfinkelstein.com/2015/07/10/amnesty-international-lambasted-by-finkelstein/
      and here… http://normanfinkelstein.com/2015/07/07/interview-with-norman-finkelstein-on-amnestys-gaza-reports/

  3. Chooky 3

    ‘Disproportionate & indiscriminate attacks’: Amnesty accuses Israel of Gaza war crimes’

    http://www.rt.com/news/311164-amnesty-gaza-war-crimes/

    “Israeli forces committed “disproportionate” and “indiscriminate” attacks that killed “scores of civilians” in the city of Rafah, Gaza, Amnesty International said in a report which was immediately slammed as “fundamentally flawed” by Israel….

  4. johnm 4

    War Crimes? You and whose army will enforce this???

    • Morrissey 4.1

      Israel is a rogue state and must eventually be forced to observe international law.

      Some day its sponsor, the United States, will refuse to keep supporting its crimes, as it eventually stopped supporting the crimes of apartheid South Africa and fascist Indonesia.

    • mickysavage 4.2

      The US needs to be persuaded of this and understand that they are resourcing murderers.

  5. Ad 5

    Misleading heading.
    Amnesty were clear that they were calling on both Israelis and Palestinians.
    Amnesty were deliberately balanced.
    Author was not.

    • Morrissey 5.1

      Something called “Ad” unwisely took it into its head yesterday to attempt to be clever, when it posted the following absurdity: “Amnesty were deliberately balanced.”

      Clearly, whoever it is who calls itself “Ad” has no knowledge or understanding of the ongoing crime against the besieged enclave of Gaza, and therefore does not appreciate when an organization like Amnesty is co-opted by political interests that want to minimise and obscure the crimes of the powerful.

      I doubt that “Ad” would be interest in learning anything about this issue, but anyone who does want to learn about this should watch the following…..

      http://normanfinkelstein.com/2015/07/10/amnesty-international-lambasted-by-finkelstein/

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