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The Question of Hamas, Gaza, and Israel

In a Daily Dispatch last week, Stand for Israel reported that Amnesty International at last fingered Hamas for war crimes during last summer’s war in Gaza, a turnaround for the usually anti-Israel organization. Former national security adviser Elliott Abrams looks at what this means for Israel, Hamas, and human rights organizations’ anti-Israel bias:

Amnesty International has just issued a report on human rights violations by Hamas in Gaza during last year’s conflict between Hamas and Israel.  It has garnered a great deal of attention, in part because Amnesty has previously been very critical of Israel.

This report skewers Hamas. Here is Amnesty’s own summary:

Hamas forces in Gaza committed serious human rights abuses, including abductions, torture and summary and extrajudicial executions with impunity during the 2014 Gaza/Israel conflict. To date, no one has been held to account for committing these unlawful killings and other abuses, either by the Hamas de facto administration that continues to control Gaza and its security and judicial institutions, or by the Palestinian “national consensus” government that has had nominal authority over Gaza since June 2014.

Here is one small excerpt:

In every case Amnesty International has documented, it has uncovered evidence of Hamas forces using torture during interrogation with the apparent aim of extracting a “confession” from the detainee. Testimonies indicate that victims of torture were beaten with truncheons, gun butts, hoses, wire, and fists; some were also burnt with fire, hot metal or acid. In several cases family members of victims described to Amnesty International various injuries inflictedon the detainees, such as broken bones – including of the spine and neck bones – trauma to the eyes, as well as damage, punctures or burns to the skin.

Amnesty does not point out the implications of another key paragraph:

Hamas forces used the abandoned areas of al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, including the outpatients’ clinic area, to detain, interrogate, torture and otherwise ill-treat suspects, even as other parts of the hospital continued to function as a medical centre…

Amnesty’s information about the numbers of Palestinians killed by Hamas rockets inside Gaza suggests that far more were killed this way than has previously been acknowledged by any human rights group.

And that brings me to my Human Rights Watch point. I’ve previously written about HRW’s horrifying bias against Israel here and here. I’ve also criticized Amnesty, but at least with this new report it is seeking some balance. Not HRW, which has occasionally criticized Hamas but has been obsessively hostile to Israel and has never done a report such as this…

I’m waiting for a full HRW report such as the one Amnesty just produced. I suspect I will wait, and wait, and wait.

Tags: Hamas , Gaza

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