(Carl) Well, isn’t this amazing? ‘Human rights watch’ has finally figured out that Hamas and other ‘Palestinian’ terror groups committed war crimes by shooting rockets from civilian areas in Gaza to civilian areas in Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense.
“Palestinian armed groups made clear in their statements that harming civilians was their aim,” said HRW’s Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson. “There is simply no legal justification for launching rockets at populated areas.”
The group also found that Gazan groups, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Resistance Committee, justified targeting civilian centers as reprisal for Israeli strikes, an act also banned under international law.
Furthermore, such groups “repeatedly fired rockets from densely populated areas, near homes, businesses, and a hotel, unnecessarily placing civilians in the vicinity at grave risk from Israeli counter-fire,” the report said.
The detailed report included examples of rockets being launched from densely populated areas in Gaza, and noted that groups fired from underground tunnels with hatches for the first time. HRW faulted Palestinian armed groups for failing to alert civilians or urge them to evacuate prior to launching rockets in their vicinity.
As the ruling power in the Strip, the human rights group said, Hamas was responsible for reining in the behavior of other groups.
“As the ruling authority in Gaza, Hamas has an obligation to stop unlawful attacks and punish those responsible,” Whitson said.
But lest you get your hopes up for a Goldstone or other style of inquiry into these human rights violations….
A week earlier, HRW reported that Israeli attacks on journalists and media facilities during the operation also violated laws of war, saying that Israel provided no specific information to justify claims that they were military targets.
“Just because Israel says a journalist was a fighter or a TV station was a command center does not make it so,” Whitson said. “Journalists who praise Hamas and TV stations that applaud attacks on Israel may be propagandists, but that does not make them legitimate targets under the laws of war.”
Well yeah, except that Israel did provide evidence, and Hamas’ al-Aqsa television is a designated terror organization.
The dark knights of human rights (Itai Reuveni)
Just over two weeks ago, there was a report about a Jewish woman in Iran who, for years, had been harassed by her Muslim neighbors who demanded that she evacuate her home to make room for a mosque. The woman was ultimately stabbed to death, and her body dismembered.
About a month ago, an Iranian human rights activist of Arab descent was tortured to death at a notorious Iranian prison. Add to that the testimony of a senior Revolutionary Guards officer who defected to the U.S., indicating that every woman who is sentenced to death in Iran is first raped so that she won’t enter heaven a virgin.
These are just a handful of examples out of thousands of human rights violations in Iran. This raises a disturbing question: Where are the human rights organizations? Where are the condemnation campaigns and calls for boycotts? Where are the threats to take senior Iranian officials to the International Court of Justice? Where are the enormous budgets? Shouldn’t there be lobbies crowding the halls of the U.N. and EU institutions?
The concept of “human rights” — founded on universal principles — has lost its moral significance and has now become merely a tool utilized by nongovernmental organizations as a means of obtaining political objectives. This exploitation, compounded by the blatant disregard for any facts that do not fall into line with the activists’ views, encourages nations like Iran to keep doing what they are doing. Human rights organizations have been commandeered by a handful of extremists who seek to advance a political ideology rather than protecting the world’s citizens, whether they are Iranian or Syrian, Palestinian or Israeli.
Iran is usually mentioned in the context of a security threat. The various organizations are only reminded of Iran in the context of Israel. There are nearly no campaigns for human rights in Iran — you can count the ones that do exist on the fingers of one hand. And so Iran, where, according to its president, there are no homosexuals or lesbians (and if there are, they are hanged in the city square), and where acid is squirted on protesters, and where men and women are raped in prison, and where the national sports are soccer and stoning people, keeps on abusing human rights. For their part, the human rights organizations argue that they don’t have the resources to take action within a closed society. Why take a risk when you can protest in Bil’in in the morning and have a beer in Tel Aviv that same afternoon?
These organizations fail to realize that human rights are inextricably linked to the strength of a society, even when said society exists under a sadistic tyrannical regime. Many people may find this surprising, but there is a strong, flourishing civil society in Iran, with a long, rich history of organizing: from the 1890 Tobacco Protest to the struggles over the constitution and the country’s oil, through to the 1979 Islamic Revolution all the way to the 2009 Iranian Election Protests and the creation of the Iranian Green Movement. This is a country with a rich social history and with a fascinating language and culture. But its freedom-seeking citizens have been abandoned by the knights of human rights, the knights who populate those organizations with the enormous budgets of hundreds of millions of dollars and with worldwide infrastructure and with ideologically motivated activists. These organizations allocate a large portion of their resources to the one-sided cheerleading squad for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in complete disproportion to all the other human rights violations around the world.
For example: Robert Bernstein, the founder of Human Rights Watch, harshly criticized the very organization he founded in a New York Times op-ed several years ago. Bernstein criticized the organization for ignoring human rights violations in closed societies, for its anti-Israeli bias and for “issuing reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.” He wrote this op-ed after a 2009 fundraising event in Saudi Arabia, organized by Human Rights Watch, in which anti-Israel rhetoric was used to raise money. That same year, a senior organization official visited Libya and praised Moammar Gadhafi’s son, calling him a reformer and leader of the Libyan Spring.
Today, international Human Rights Day, the human rights organizations need to do some soul searching and really check whether the allocation of their resources truly reflects the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted by the U.N. on Dec. 10, 1948). They need to ask themselves whether the concentration of efforts to bash Israel and the disregard for violations in other countries truly contributes to the human rights of any group, or rather serves to alienate the public, to belittle the concept of human rights and to encourage rights violations in places like Iran.
If we honestly care about human rights, we must liberate the concept from the hands of those who have tried to commandeer it.
Ken Roth Flip-Flop: HRW Promised ICC Wouldn’t Target Israel, Yet Now Lobbies for It at View from GenevaNovember 6, 2012
Will the International Criminal Court be used as a political weapon against Israel? Should it?
In 2001, when trying to convince Americans to buy into the ICC, Human Rights Watch promised one thing; now it actively lobbies for the opposite.
Today, Human Rights Watch director Ken Roth criticized a New York Times editorial that he says “ignores key effect of Palestine observer state: possibility of joining [the] ICC and deterring both sides’ war crimes.”
This is hardly the first time that Human Rights Watch has justified and supported the Palestinian attempt to use the International Criminal Court in The Hague to pursue politically motivated cases against Israel:
- On September 16, 2009, miraculously within less than 24 hours after Judge Richard Goldstone released his notorious U.N. report accusing Israel of war crimes (which he retracted some 18 months later), Human Rights Watch published a detailed press release that “supported the fact-finding mission’s call for the Security Council to refer the Gaza conflict to the ICC”; argued that the ICC was “the obvious international tribunal for war crimes committed during the Gaza conflict”; and documented all of the possible ways that Israeli political and military leaders could be hauled before the ICC, including “if the ICC prosecutor acts positively on a declaration by the Palestinian National Authority requesting the court’s authority over crimes committed in Gaza.”
- While HRW was sometimes cagey on expressing outright support for the formal ICC request submitted by the PA (or rather the PNA, the Palestinian National Authority, as per HRW) there was no mistaking where they stood: “Human Rights Watch called on the ICC prosecutor to make a prompt legal determination on the Palestinian National Authority request, consistent with the ICC’s mandate to end impunity.” Hard to see how that last bit (emphasis added) could be read as anything but outright support.
- In a September 2010 speech to the UN Human Rights Council, HRW called on the 47-nation body to “urge the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to determine in a prompt manner whether he believes the court has jurisdiction over the Gaza conflict. Such a determination will clarify the avenues of international justice available.” Again, HRW made it clear how they wanted the jurisdiction question to be decided: “the parties to varying degrees have thus far not shown a willingness to conduct investigations up to international standards, so international prosecutions may be required.” Indeed, peace talks “in no way lessen the need for accountability. On the contrary, justice for serious violations should be part of the discussion.”
What is so interesting about all of this is that back in 2001, when Americans were debating whether or not to join and support the ICC, Ken Roth’s Human Rights Watch published “Myths and Facts About the International Criminal Court,” and assured the public that the ICC would never “be used to pursue politically motivated cases against Israel.” This concern was nothing but a “myth,” said Human Rights Watch.
And one of the reasons it wouldn’t happen was because of these “Facts”: “Future actions on Israeli or Palestinian territory will be covered only if the ICC treaty is ratified by Israel or by a broadly recognized Palestinian state.”
And as HRW’s Tom Malinowski assured us all in a Washington Post op-ed, “That will not happen until after a peace agreement, in which case the likelihood of Israeli military action against Palestinians greatly diminishes.”
Fast forward 11 years. HRW’s Ken Roth is now lobbying for the Palestinian bid to become a U.N. state and ICC member before a peace agreement — and indeed while the PA (or PNA, per HRW) has refused to even sit at the negotiating table with Israel. What happened to their “that will not happen” promise?
(h/t israpundit) Prosecutor’s Office rejects jurisdiction of “Palestine,” and echoes NGO Monitor’s legal brief
JERUSALEM – In a key defeat for NGO “lawfare” in the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) today decided that it does not have jurisdiction to begin an investigation over cases related to the 2008-09 Gaza War because “Palestine” is not a state. In January 2009, the Palestinian Authority (PA) filed a letter with the Court, purporting to accept the ICC’s jurisdiction in order to bring war crimes cases against Israeli officials, notes Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, which was involved in the case from the outset.
“Throughout this process, the ICC – created to punish the worst perpetrators of war crimes and mass murder – was exploited by several EU- and European-government funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which intensively lobbied the OTP as part of their campaign to attack the legitimacy of the State of Israel,” says Anne Herzberg, legal advisor for NGO Monitor. “The NGOs Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Al Haq, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Federation Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l´Homme (FIDH), and Adalah campaigned at the ICC in support of the Palestinian Authority’s political goals. This clearly was contradictory to the spirit and substance of peace negotiations.”
On behalf of NGO Monitor, Herzberg submitted a legal brief on the case. The brief argued that the ICC’s jurisdiction is defined by the 1998 Rome Statute, which makes clear that only states can accept the Court’s jurisdiction. The Statute was adopted after years of careful diplomatic negotiations, and allowing the PA to fall under the Court’s jurisdiction would have essentially amounted to a re-writing of the Statute. In addition, the brief argued that, contrary to claims by NGO proponents of the PA initiative, the ICC was not established as a court of universal jurisdiction, and NGO attempts to transform it into such would be legally improper. The OTP used similar arguments to support its decision.
“The fact that the case even proceeded this far was clear legal overreaching, but it shows the strength of NGOs that lead the de-legitimization and demonization campaigns against Israel,” adds Herzberg. “The OTP’s decision today is a strong rebuke to these NGOs, their political agenda, and their campaign to isolate Israel from the international community,” notes Herzberg. “International arenas are routinely hijacked for political purposes, but today’s decision was markedly different.”
it should of never come down to a technicality like this. Jews have a right to protect themselves even if it were a state. Shortly it will be the Muslim Brotherhood running things in Egypt. If Israel defends it’s civilians from rocket fire it is their right to do so. Technically speaking… the rules of this court are obscene. During the Holocaust the Jews did not have a state. Is the court saying that this technicality could of been used to protect Nazis if the legal precedent of today existed during World War II? It’s a little obtuse. People that initiate violence through terror… should be responded to as Israel did, regardless of the civilians they hide behind.
|(Montreal Gazette / Photograph by: Alexander Natruskin, Reuters )|
With the Arab Spring evolving into an Islamic winter, the Obama administration tries foreign policy one more time… nonintervention… yeah… Obama… right. wink wink…¯\_(ツ)_/¯
in 2003 much of the left pointed out that Russia did not support our involvement in Iraq. What we forget is what Russia really was irked about was our invasion in the Balkens. Ah… the web those liberals weave for the Conservatives when the government crashes and burns