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November 16, 2018 10:19 am

Watchdog: Human Rights NGOs Are Silent on Hamas’ Rocket Terrorism

avatar by David Gerstman

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A man stands inside a house damaged by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in the Israeli city of Ashkelon, Nov. 13, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun.

Major human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have failed to condemn the barrage of rockets and mortars fired indiscriminately into Israel by Hamas, a survey published this week by the watchdog group NGO Monitor concluded.

Even though Hamas fired an estimated 460 projectiles into Israel on Monday and Tuesday — making it the heaviest bombardment since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas — NGO Monitor charged that NGOs, such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International, failed to explicitly condemn Hamas, the terror group that exercises complete political and military control over the Gaza Strip.

“NGOs and NGO officials have entirely ignored the Palestinian violations against Israelis. Some have simply remained silent, while others have focused exclusively on demonizing Israel,” NGO Monitor wrote.

“Notably, Palestinian NGOs, which claim to meticulously document violations occurring in Gaza, have not released detailed accounts of the illegal launches of indiscriminate weapons into Israel nor systematically examined how combatants embed themselves among civilian infrastructure.”

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NGO Monitor also provided a list of NGOs and NGO officials who failed to address Hamas’ war crimes. They included Ken Roth and Sarah Leah Whitson, respectively the director and director of the Middle East Division of HRW, Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, Oxfam, and Defense for Children International — Palestine.

The survey also looked at the social media activity of NGOs and their personnel.

Omar Shakir, HRW’s Israel and Palestine director, retweeted a tweet that said, “Not only as a journalist who believes journalists should never be targets, but also as someone who lives within spitting distance of the IDF’s own radio station (located in a residential neighborhood), I can’t express enough outrage about the bombing of Al Aqsa TV in Gaza.”

The IDF explained that Al Aqsa TV was targeted because it was “used by [Hamas] for military activities, including sending messages to terrorist operatives in the West Bank, calls for terror attacks and instructions on how to commit them.”

Amnesty International did address the escalation of violence, but did not explicitly condemn Hamas. Amnesty tweeted, “As tensions between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in #Gaza continue to escalate today Amnesty is calling on all sides to respect the laws of war; never carry out disproportionate or indiscriminate attacks. Civilians must be protected.”

Even though Amnesty called on “all sides” to protect civilians, the Hamas rockets were aimed at civilians.

In contrast, Raf Sanchez, the Middle East correspondent of The Daily Telegraph, noted after returning from Gaza on Thursday that Israel took extra care to protect civilians. “We got a sense of how careful Israel was to avoid civilian casualties during the airstrikes in #Gaza,” Sanchez tweeted. “The Israeli army called one guy we met and spent 45 mins on the phone with him, getting him to evacuate his neighbours, before they blew up a Hamas media building next to his.”

This sentiment was echoed by Jason Greenblatt, the White House’s special representative to the Middle East, who said that Hamas was deliberately neglecting and endangering civilians in Gaza for political gains. “Hamas’ activities continue to prove they don’t really care about the Palestinians of Gaza & their only interest is to use them for political purposes. Even Palestinian lives seem not to matter to Hamas,” the envoy said.

This article was originally published at The Tower.

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