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December 9, 2014 4:18 pm

Israeli Watchdog: Amnesty International Gaza Report Uses Flawed Methodology to Buttress War Crimes Accusations Against IDF

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Amnesty International's latest report accusing Israel of "war crimes" is based on flawed methodology, NGO Monitor says. Photo: Screenshot

Israeli watchdog NGO Monitor has blasted the latest Amnesty International report on Israel’s war against Hamas during the summer of 2014 for “fundamental failures” in its research methodology.

“By Amnesty’s own admission, its methodology in Gaza is faulty and incomplete,” Professor Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, said in a statement. “The ‘evidence’ is internally contradictory, and cannot sustain the accusations of ‘war crimes’ and the recommendations of legal warfare and sanctions against Israel.”

The Amnesty report, entitled “‘Nothing is Immune’: Israel’s Destruction of Landmark Buildings in Gaza,” concentrates on four strikes carried out by Israeli forces during the last four days of Operation Protective Edge and accuses the IDF of having carried out “war crimes.”

“While no one was killed, the attacks are of great significance because they are examples of what appears to have been deliberate destruction and targeting of civilian buildings and property on a large scale, carried out without military necessity,” the preamble to the report declared.

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Citing one example of the contradictions in the report, NGO Monitor pointed out that “Amnesty writes that Israeli authorities indicated that ‘one of the destroyed buildings housed a Hamas command centre and of facilities linked to Palestinian militants in another.’ But Amnesty then claims that there is ‘no information as to why they levelled four entire buildings’ and that there was ‘no military justification’ for the strikes.”

Steinberg added that since Amnesty has had no access to Gaza since before the conflict began, there “is no way to confirm the requisite expertise and impartiality of these consultants, particularly in a territory controlled by Hamas.”

“The individuals who determine Amnesty’s Israel activities reflect a highly ideological agenda, as demonstrated in our research,” Steinberg emphasized.

Defending his organization’s report, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa director Philip Luther said: “Both the facts on the ground and statements made by Israeli military spokespeople at the time indicate that the attacks were a collective punishment against the people of Gaza and were designed to destroy their already precarious livelihoods.”

NGO Monitor has consistently highlighted what it says are the mistakes and distortions in Amnesty’s assessment of the Gaza conflict. At the height of the fighting in July, the watchdog took aim at “Amnesty’s silence on Hamas’ exploitation of UNRWA and other civilian structures by Hamas to store and fire rockets and conduct Palestinian military operations; feigning of ignorance as to Hamas’ shielding itself among the civilian population of Gaza; and claiming that Hamas directives to ignore warnings of impending attacks were in order to avoid “panic” among the civilian population.”

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