January 27, 2015
NGO claims lack credibility and are part of Schabas and ICC political campaignsJerusalem – In its report on IDF strikes during the 2014 Gaza conflict, B’Tselem presents a simplistic and distorted political narrative of Israeli guilt and Palestinian victimhood, according to Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor. B’Tselem’s publication follows those of Amnesty International, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, and other investigation NGOs, contributing to the campaign surrounding the UN Human Rights Council by William Schabas, as well as Palestinian Authority efforts focused on the International Criminal Court.
“Once again, and regardless of the circumstances and available evidence, B’Tselem has contorted the facts in order to pronounce Israel guilty,” said Anne Herzberg, NGO Monitor’s Legal Advisor. “Contrary to such claims, Hamas is morally and legally responsible for civilian deaths in Gaza: Hamas systematically conducts military operations from within civilian areas and stores its rockets in schools, mosques, and private homes.”
B’Tselem’s claims regarding international law are marked by major omissions and distortions. It notably fails to state that under the laws of war, the presence of civilians does not render military objectives immune from attack. B’Tselem also does not explain why targeting Hamas fighters or Hamas command centers did not “effectively assist military efforts” or “provide a military advantage” to Israel.
NGO Monitor notes that, as in the past, this publication fails to present definitive evidence that would justify the allegations. Indeed, it is clear that B’Tselem, like other politicized NGOs, lacks the necessary information, including military intelligence and command decisions. B’Tselem also lacked direct access to Gaza, instead presenting unverifiable “testimonies” from purported victims and eyewitnesses in Hamas-controlled territory, mixed with other data that originated with the Hamas Ministry of Health in Gaza.
As a result, B’Tselem has a history of presenting faulty information on civilian casualties in alleged attacks against “families bombed at home.” Independent studies have identified at least 14 combatants present in such incidents, whom B’Tselem misleadingly portrayed as innocent civilians (see below for details). B’Tselem also did not mention that a meeting of terror operatives was occurring at the targeted home, but instead published an emotive account of a family member of an Islamic Jihad commander.
“B’Tselem’s absurd argument that Israel cannot target Hamas fighters at home will only encourage terrorists to store more weapons, launch more rockets, and conduct more military operations from within homes and mosques, knowing they can do so with complete impunity,” continued Ms. Herzberg. “The international community should wholly reject this dangerous publication.”
In August 2014, B’Tselem received “emergency funding” from Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland (“theSecretariat”) for “documentation and investigation efforts...for the purposes of assisting and supporting national and international mechanisms.”
For more information on B’Tselem, see http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/b_tselem.
For NGO Monitor’s extensive research and analysis on the Summer 2014 Gaza War, see http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/operation_protective_edge.
Combatants Identified by B’Tselem as Civilians
(as identified in B’Tselem’s “Families Bombed at Home” Infographic)
Date - Attack - B'Tselem Identified as Civilian - Affiliation - Link
July 8, 2014 Kaware family Muhammad Ibrahim Kaware (PIJ's Al-Quds Battalions)
July 8/9, 2014 Hamad family Ibrahim Mohammed Ahmad Hamad (al-Qassam)
July 8/9, 2014 Hamad family Mahdi Mohammed Ahmad Hamad (PFLP)
July 10, 2014 Al Haj family Omar al-Haj (al-Qassam)
July 12, 2014 Al-Batsh family Nahed Na'im al-Batsh (al-Qassam)
July 12, 2014 Al-Batsh family Bahaa Majed al-Batsh (al-Qassam)
July 12, 2014 Al-Batsh family Jalal Majed al-Batsh (al-Qassam)
July 16/18, 2014 Al-Astal family Hussein Abd al-Nasser al-Astal (al-Qassam)
July 19, 2014 A-Zweidi family Mohammad Khaled Jamil al-Zweidi (Al-Quds)
July 20, 2014 al-Hayah family Osama Khalil Isma'il al-Hayya (al-Qassam)
July 20, 2014 Ziyadah family Omar Sha'ban Hassan Ziada (Terrorist operative)
July 21, 2014 Siyam family Mohammad Mahrous Salam Siam (National Resistance Battalions) http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/Data/articles/Art_20708/E_151_14_1970189202.pdf
July 20/21, 2014 Siyam family Kamal Mahrous Salam Siam (al-Qassam)
July 29, 2014 Dheir famliy Izat Dheir (PIJ Al-Quds Battalions operative)