'Amnesty report is fundamentally flawed, shows its compulsive obsessiveness towards Israel'

Group says IDF action after Goldin abduction may be "crimes against humanity."

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July 29, 2015 18:34
3 minute read.
Operation Protective Edge

IAF strikes Gaza. (photo credit: PALESTINIAN MEDIA)

 
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Israel slammed as “fundamentally flawed” an Amnesty International report released Wednesday that accused it of “disproportionate or otherwise indiscriminate attacks” in the hours and days following the killing and kidnapping of an IDF officer in Rafah during Operation Protective Edge.

“There is strong evidence that Israeli forces committed war crimes in their relentless and massive bombardment of residential areas of Rafah in order to foil the capture of Lt. Hadar Goldin, displaying a shocking disregard for civilian lives,” said Philip Luther, director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International, upon release of the report. “They carried out a series of disproportionate or otherwise indiscriminate attacks, which they have completely failed to investigate independently.”

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But the Foreign Ministry dismissed the report from the human rights organization, which it said has an obsession and bias regarding Israel, saying there were problems with the report’s methodologies, facts, legal analysis and conclusions, and adding that it created the impression that “the IDF was fighting against itself.”

The ministry issued a statement saying that despite abundant evidence, Amnesty does not describe the “heinous strategy” of the terrorist organizations Israel was fighting to “embed their military operations within the civilian environment, and to fire at the IDF and Israel’s civilian population from behind the [Palestinian] civilian population.”

The statement said Amnesty also built a false narrative, claiming that four days of IDF military operations were in response to the killing and kidnapping of one IDF soldier, while ignoring the fact that there was an ongoing conflict during which the IDF was trying to stop rocket fire and neutralize assault tunnels.

The report focuses on the events that unfolded on August 1, just after a threeday cease-fire was to go into effect and Hamas terrorists, coming out of assault tunnels, ambushed an IDF patrol, killing two soldiers and kidnapping Goldin.

To rescue Goldin and make sure Hamas could not use him as a hostage, the IDF put the “Hannibal” directive into effect.



According to the report, which claims that its conclusions were based on “cutting edge investigative techniques and analysis pioneered by Forensic Architecture, a research team based at the University of London,” 135 civilians were killed during the fierce fighting that followed the abduction of Goldin and “may amount to crimes against humanity.”

The report claims to be based on “hundreds of photos and videos, satellite imagery and testimony from eyewitnesses.”

“After Lieutenant Hadar Goldin was captured, Israeli forces appear to have thrown out the rule book, employing a ‘gloves off’ policy with devastating consequences for civilians,” Luther said. “The goal was to foil his capture at any cost. The obligation to take precautions to avoid the loss of civilian lives was completely neglected. Entire districts of Rafah, including heavily populated residential areas, were bombarded without distinction between civilians and military targets.”

According to Luther, “the ferocity of the attacks, which continued after Lieutenant Goldin was declared dead on 2 August, suggests they may in part have been motivated by a desire to punish the population of Rafah as revenge for his capture.”

But the ministry was unimpressed with the claimed “cutting edge investigative techniques” of the report, saying the methodology was “fundamentally flawed and brings into serious question Amnesty’s professional standards.”

The statement cited the report’s dependence on “uncorroborated testimonies” of Palestinians and unidentified “fieldworkers.”

The report, according to the Foreign Ministry, did not consider “any potential biases or coercion by Hamas authorities, or simply the fact that individuals caught in the middle of combat are limited in their capacity to know the reasons, methodologies and intentions of the fighting parties.”

By contrast, the statement said that Israel’s official report on the conflict is hardly mentioned and does not weigh into Amnesty’s conclusions.

Amnesty’s allegation that the IDF has a policy of using indiscriminate and disproportionate force is based on the tragic results of civilian casualties, the statement said, which is a conclusion not based on “international law and “merely reflects the political bias” of the organization toward Israel.

“Once again,” the statement read, “Amnesty has shown its compulsive obsessiveness toward Israel, by rehashing already existing claims and complaints into a smoke and mirrors website.”

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