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September 8, 2017 4:05 pm

Human Rights Watch Chief Blasted for Silence on Israeli Strike on Deadly Syrian Chemical Weapons Facility

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A Syrian couple grieving for their children murdered in a chemical weapons attack in Aleppo. Photo: Screenshot.

A prominent international human rights lawyer has strongly criticized Kenneth Roth — the head of arguably the world’s most influential human rights organization, Human Rights Watch — for his silence in the wake of the strike carried out by Israeli jets against a chemical weapons facility in western Syria this week.

Hillel Neuer — executive director of the Geneva-based NGO UN Watch — noted on Friday that “to his credit, Ken Roth, the influential head of Human Rights Watch, has repeatedly sounded the alarm over Syria’s chemical weapons attacks against its own people, devoting more than 500 tweets to the subject in the past five years.”

In one such tweet, Roth specifically identified the Masyaf facility that was hit by Israel as one of the chemical weapons sites controlled by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

“Yet when Israel this week took action and struck the Masyaf chemical weapons factory — destroying the site identified by Roth, and enforcing the world’s red line that Roth identified — this supposed human rights champion suddenly went silent, even as he had just tweeted on the subject shortly before the Israeli operation was reported,” Neuer told The Algemeiner.

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“The natural thing to have done would be for Roth to commend Israel for turning ghastly weapons into dust, and potentially saving thousands of Syrian lives, for doing exactly what he had essentially been calling on nations to do,” Neuer said.

Roth was a vocal critic of the Obama administration’s refusal to enforce its own “red lines” on Assad’s use of illegal chemical weapons, arguing in 2013 that the international community must protect Syrian civilians from being slaughtered by Assad’s forces with both chemical and conventional weapons.

In May 2017, Human Rights Watch published a report that contained a harrowing account of the chemical weapons attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun the previous month, in which nearly 100 people died, as well as documenting fifteen other such attacks since November 2016 in which hundreds more were killed or severely wounded.

According to Western intelligence reports shared with the BBC, the Masyaf facility that was hit by Israeli fighter jets on Thursday was one of three sites under the control of Assad’s shadowy “Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC)” that manufactured the chemical weapons used in these attacks.

While Israel has not confirmed or denied its responsibility for the Masyaf strike, as is customary, several of the country’s leading former security officials have been actively explaining Jerusalem’s rationale for the move. According to former IDF intelligence chief Amos Yadlin — now the head of the Tel Aviv University-affiliated Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) — in strategic terms, the strike confronted both Russia and Iran with the reality that Israel will enforce its own red lines in Syria. But Yadlin also placed a strong emphasis on the target selected by the IDF, observing that the “factory in Masyaf produces the chemical weapons and barrel bombs that have killed thousands of Syrian civilians.”

“If the attack was conducted by Israel, it would be a commendable and moral action by Israel against the slaughter in Syria,” Yadlin said on Twitter.

Roth’s silence on Israel’s enforcement of the international prohibition on chemical weapons use was more evidence of the Human Rights Watch executive director’s determination “to only write about Israel to demonize the Jewish state,” Neuer asserted. Roth is a frequent and visceral critic of Israel who has accused the IDF of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip.

A representative of Human Rights Watch told The Algemeiner on Friday that the organization was “unable to comment on the Israeli strike on the Masyaf site in Syria.”

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  • We are at war for our survival
    Many stubbornly and foolishly do not put the pieces together and refuse to identify the Arab evil doers as evil; they delude and fantasize themselves against past terror, deeds and violations of agreements, that the Arabs do not want to destroy us.
    We are disgracefully politically correct to our detriment and harm and at the cost of life to our people. We must face reality without any illusion and delusion; The Arab-Palestinians want all of Israel without the Jews and will do anything to accomplish it.

    Throughout history the Jews were bullied, used as scapegoats and persecuted by the various nations of the world. The world is not used to seeing a Jew who is strong, armed and fights for his freedom and rights, well the time has come for the world to realize the Jew will never again cower to atrocities and pogroms as happened in the past, since the destruction of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, with the Almighty’s help we will and shall persevere against all odds.
    There are no German Luftwaffe overhead or Panzer divisions on our borders. But make no mistake; we the Jewish people are under attack—our values, our tolerance, our freedom, our virtue, our land, and I specify our ancestral land for 4000 years – it was never in history an independent Arab country. The Arabs received over 13 million sq. km. with a wealth of oil reserves plus Jordan which is Jewish territory illegally reallocated by the British for a new Arab state of Jordan and the Jewish people received all of Palestine aka The Land of Israel in 1920 San Remo Conference which incorporated the Balfour Declaration as International Law.
    No where in any of the above stated agreements or any resolutions that provides for an Arab entity west of the Jordan River. It specifically states political right to the Jewish people. The U.N. resolutions are non-binding with no legal standing. The Oslo Accords is null and void.

    Did anyone imagine in the 1920’s what Europe would look like in the 1940’s? The Arab countries forcefully expelled over a million Jewish families and confiscated all their assets including personal assets, businesses, homes and over 120,000 Sq. Km. of Jewish owned Real estate for over 2,600 years, valued in the trillions of dollars; and most of the expelled Jewish families were resettled in Greater Israel.
    We dare not wallow in complacency, in a misguided tolerance and naive sense of security. We must not be lulled into inaction for fear of offending the offenders. Radical Islam is the curse of the world and this must be cried out from every house of worship. ISIS MUST BE DESTROYED. Iran is our enemy and they are a destabilizing factor in the Middle East which ignite a third World War. They are the new 21st century Nazis.
    These murderers, these barbarians are radical Islamists.
    This is an all out war. Show no mercy on them. They must be utterly destroyed with no remnants. They want to murder Jews and we must destroy them first.
    WHY ARE PEOPLE AFRAID TO STATE THIS? MOST OF THE WORLD HATES US JEWS for no reason. We should stop appeasing the world and protect ourselves and Israel. (“If I am not for myself, who is”) Yes we have a few countries such as the U.S.A. to turn to and we have some friends from different religions, yet another holocaust is coming if we Jews remain silent and a third Intifada has begun., never again, never forget, never forgive. I am a son of holocaust survivors. The nation of Israel and its people have survived for thousands of years and will continue to survive.
    Have Israeli Arabs ever tried to integrate into Israeli society as have the Druze? Or is it the opposite? Except when it comes to medical care and welfare, do they even see themselves as Israeli Arabs or do they see themselves as Arab-Palestinians residing within Israel? Yes, there are exceptions among the educated; fine doctors, lawyers, etc., but they are the exception. Muslims mission is to occupy other countries and than enforce their Sharia laws and their customs on the population at large and take over the hosting country.
    Israeli Arabs could have in the past, and now still could find the same acceptance and appreciation that the Druze has found. Why haven’t they? I think the answer is painfully clear. Their goal is that they want to destroy Israel and the Jews and they, the Arab-Palestinians declare unashamedly those intentions to the world at large and their Charter states those parameters with no ambiguity.
    “In Israel; We have to undue and reverse all the concessions that the decades of this nonsense had created and that the illusionary peace industry has fermented, which led us to the position where the world thinks we the Jews are occupiers in our own ancestral land. We have to reverse all our concessions to the Arabs who deceived us by falsely saying they want peace with Israel. It was only a means to deceive Israel and gain territory which they could not gain in wars; in order to take over Israel one piece at the time.
    If something is false and it is repeated enough times it becomes sort of common wisdom.
    We have to undo that.”
    “A United Israel is a strong Israel”
    YJ Draiman
    P.S. Mahmoud Abbas aka Abu Abbas is proud of his role in the Munich Massacre of Israeli Athletes.

  • Joel Kutner

    Why am I not surprised?

  • SaciPerere

    It’s not just the silence of HRW, but also of the West, especially the Europeans.What hypocrites.