Amnesty: Israel responsible for truce collapse

In 2009 report, NGO accuses only Jerusalem of breaking cease-fire with Hamas prior to Cast Lead.

hamas gaza training 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
hamas gaza training 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
In its 2009 annual report, formally released on Thursday, Amnesty International places sole blame on Israel for the breakdown in the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that led to Operation Cast Lead. The London-based organization accuses Israel of breaking the six-month cease-fire on November 4, 2008, when "Israeli forces killed six Palestinian militants." Jerusalem-based research organization NGO Monitor said the report ignored Hamas violations. "Hamas's highly visible preparations for resumed Palestinian aggression during the six-month cease-fire in 2008, including the preparation of a human-shields strategy, are entirely ignored," NGO Monitor said. Amnesty also says the Israeli government is maintaining a "tight blockade" on Gaza as collective punishment for the "continuing detention" of St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit in the Gaza Strip. While the report acknowledges that the Red Cross has been denied access to Schalit, and makes reference to the indiscriminate rocket attacks on southern Israel, NGO Monitor said the report showed that Amnesty's activities on Israeli and Palestinian issues were "highly biased and lack credibility." Subtitled "The state of the world's human rights," the report states that the Gaza smuggling tunnels are used to move food and fuel, but does not mention arms smuggling. NGO Monitor also accused Amnesty of not giving context when it blames Israel for the plight of Gazans who are denied access to Israel hospitals. The report uses four examples of Palestinians who died after being denied entry to Israel, without mentioning the large number of Palestinians treated in Israeli hospitals. "Amnesty's activities in the Middle East are totally divorced from reality and constitute a continued attack on the moral foundation of human rights," said Prof. Gerald Steinberg, NGO Monitor's executive director. "The world's most prominent human rights organization continues to abuse this position to join the ideological campaign that seeks to single out Israel for condemnation, promote the Palestinian narrative, and erase the context of mass terror and aggression by Hamas."