November 29, 2006

Uncorroborated, Contradictory Information at Core of Amnesty International

Vague, narrow interpretations of international law and unverifiable accounts contradicted by wartime media and UN reports form the foundation of Amnesty International's concluding report on this summer's Lebanon War released Tuesday. In the report, Amnesty accuses Israel of indiscriminate attacks, deliberately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure and war crimes. Providing little or no detail on how it conducted its 'investigation' in Lebanon and relying on scant or no military expertise, the organization levels serious, unsubstantiated accusations against Israel.

Professor Gerald Steinberg, Editor of NGO Monitor: "Amnesty's report is called 'Out of all proportion' - but what is the 'proportionate' response to Hezbollah's July 12 cross-border attack, its kidnappings, murders, its arsenal of tens of thousands of missiles and genocidal objectives? Amnesty doesn't say."

An NGO Monitor review of Amnesty's report concludes that rather than shedding new light on the conflict, the report is a one-sided condemnation of Israel. While quick to accuse Israel of "collective punishment" or the deliberate targeting of civilians, Amnesty's report lets Hezbollah off easy, referring to its stockpiling of weapons in homes and mosques and launching attacks from heavily populated civilian areas as "unclear" "in terms of international humanitarian law."

The report fails to name a single Israeli victim of Hezbollah rocket fire compared to detailed biographical information on Lebanese casualties. Lengthy chapters on the impact of Israeli military strikes on Lebanon, civilians killed, and detailed reports of property, economic and environmental damage starkly contrast the paltry few paragraphs that gloss over loss of human life, economic and environmental consequences on the Israeli side caused by 4,000 Hezbollah rockets fired on the country's north.

Despite UN, media and even its own reports identifying the Lebanese villages of Bint Jbeil, Marwahin, Sifra and al-Khiam as areas where Hezbollah was conducting military operations, Amnesty condemns IDF strikes and destruction of homes in these villages. Among IDF attacks deemed "grossly disproportionate" were those in the Beirut neighborhood where Hezbollah had its headquarters.

NGO Monitor promotes critical debate and accountability of human rights NGOs in the Arab-Israeli conflict:

www.ngo-monitor.org

Further details: Anne Herzberg, anne.herzberg@ngo-monitor.org