Sunday, May 31, 2015

31-May-15: Amnesty sees the Gazan dots but still cannot bring itself to join them

Just four days ago, we wrote ["27-May-15: Amnesty shines light on fabrications and deletions in last summer's Gaza fighting"] about how the terrorists of Hamas, under cover of the massive rocket warfare they had launched against Israel last summer, carried out a vicious Arab-on-Arab blood-letting campaign directed at their fellow Gazans. Amnesty International issued a serious-sounding report about it that, with its years of partial and distorted reporting of Arab terrorism directed at Israelis and its constant sniping at Israel's counter-terror strategies, came as something of a surprise. 

The always-incisive Evelyn Gordon [@EvelynCGordon via Twitter], writing in Commentary Magazine on May 28, 2015, concisely fleshes out the other side of the Amnesty coverage in an excellent column entitled "Amnesty’s Reports on Hamas Refute Its Allegations Against Israel".

In it she points out how Amnesty's paper 
has quietly confirmed nearly all of Israel’s main claims about Hamas’s conduct during last summer’s war in Gaza. Yet the organization still lacks the intellectual honesty to admit that its findings about Hamas completely undercut its main allegations against Israel – made vociferously both at the time and in a series of reports last fall and winter.
It's not a long piece, and certainly deserves the attention of anyone trying to understand the terrorism of Hamas as well as the lethal journalism on display when some of the world's major news reporting organizations purport to say how that terrorism works.

One of her key points deals with the Amnesty revelation that rockets fired by the Hamas side killed more civilians in Gaza than they did in Israel. 
Altogether, Amnesty said, the rockets killed six Israeli civilians and “at least” 13 Palestinian civilians. Where did the latter figure come from? From a single misfired [Gazan] rocket that killed 13 civilians in the Al-Shati refugee camp. In other words, Amnesty didn’t bother checking to see whether other Hamas rockets also killed civilians; it simply cited the one case it couldn’t possibly ignore, because it was reported in real time by a foreign journalist at the scene. But according to Israel Defense Forces figures, roughly 550 rockets and mortars fired at Israel fell short and landed in Gaza, including 119 that hit urban areas. And it defies belief to think those other 549 rockets and mortars produced no casualties... [O]nce you acknowledge that some portion of those civilian casualties was actually caused by misfired Hamas rockets rather than Israeli strikes, then the claim of excessive civilian casualties becomes even more untenable. Indeed, it means the civilian-to-combatant fatality ratio from Israeli strikes was likely even below 1:1...
That last statistic is important. Colonel Richard Kemp, whose service in the British army from 1977 to 2006 included stints as commander of British Forces in Afghanistan and some 14 operational tours of duty around the globe, says Israel's care to minimize civilian casualties on the Arab side is extraordinary
The UN estimate that there has been an average three-to one ratio of civilian to combatant deaths in such conflicts worldwide. Three civilians for every combatant killed. That is the estimated ratio in Afghanistan: three to one. In Iraq, and in Kosovo, it was worse: the ratio is believed to be four-to-one. Anecdotal evidence suggests the ratios were very much higher in Chechnya and Serbia... [See "A salute to the IDF", R. J. Kemp, Jerusalem Post, June 15, 2011]. 
From an Amnesty Campaign [Source]
Gazan missiles that crashed onto the heads and homes of the Palestinian Arabs living under the Hamas jackboot have had our attention for years. It's endlessly astonishing to us that their existence is systematically ignored (which means denied) in the torrents of mainstream news reporting that originate in the Gaza Strip. (Click "Fell Shorts" to see some of the dozens of previous mentions in our blog posts.)

Evelyn Gordon's eloquent dissection also takes apart charges by Amnesty (among others) of an alleged Israeli strategy to willfully, recklessly or indiscriminately target civilian structures. Israel has long asserted 
that these “civilian” buildings doubled as military facilities – weapons storehouses, command and control centers, etc. – and were, therefore, legitimate military targets, but human rights groups pooh-poohed that claim. Now, however, Amnesty has admitted that Hamas used Gaza’s main hospital [Shifa] as a detention, interrogation and torture center. And if Hamas was misusing a hospital in this way, it defies belief to think it wasn’t similarly misusing other civilian buildings for military purposes. Once you admit that Hamas did so once, there’s no reason to think it wouldn’t do so again. And, in that case, the allegation that Israel wantonly attacked civilian structures also collapses.
Amnesty has effectively demolished its two main allegations against Israel. And if it had a shred of honor and decency left, it would admit it. 
Like the writer, we are not under any illusion that this is going to happen soon or ever.

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