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November 13, 2019 12:26 pm

Amnesty International Called Out for Falsely Accusing Israel of Attacking Gaza Building — Which Was Actually Hit by Misfired Palestinian Rocket

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avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

A trail of smoke is seen as a rocket is fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, Nov. 13, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Mohammed Salem.

Amnesty International falsely accused Israel of bombing a Palestinian human rights organization’s office on Tuesday, when the incident actually involved a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket.

The projectile struck an office building on Tuesday morning in Gaza City where the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights is headquartered.

Amnesty quickly issued a tweet saying, “We strongly condemn attack on the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights whose office in Gaza was struck by an Israeli missile earlier this morning. Strikes targeting civilian buildings is a violation of international law. We are sending our solidarity to @ICHR_Pal.”

Quickly, however, Amnesty’s version of events proved false. Trey Yingst, a foreign correspondent for Fox News, witnessed the incident and tweeted, “Israel did not strike this building. A rocket misfired from Gaza. I was across the street when it happened.”

Amnesty’s claim was conclusively disproven by a report in Israeli daily Haaretz written by Amira Hass, a famously pro-Palestinian journalist.

The rocket that struck the building, Hass wrote, was “a missile that went astray on its launchers.”

Those responsible, she said, were “almost certainly members of Islamic Jihad.”

“Israeli sources told Haaretz that the missile wasn’t Israeli,” she added. “But one could have concluded that it was a local missile just from the silence that Palestinian media outlets imposed on themselves regarding the hit and the destruction it caused.”

Scrambling to do damage control, Amnesty tweeted a vague statement saying, “Conflicting information is circulating about what exactly hit the @ichr_pal office in Gaza and where the attack came from. @amnesty is calling for an impartial investigation into this incident and other events in Gaza today.”

Amnesty’s hostility to Israel regarding the ongoing conflict in Gaza was evidenced by other tweets that accompanied the initial accusation.

“Israel has a history of carrying out serious violations of international humanitarian law in Gaza, including war crimes, with impunity and displaying a shocking disregard for Palestinian lives,” one tweet said.

Hillel Neuer, head of the UN Watch NGO, tweeted to Amnesty, “Why is it your instinct to condemn Israel before you know the facts? Where’s your apology?”

“Amnesty should fire the officials who gave the false report from Gaza, and the officials in London who issued the statement of condemnation against Israel with no evidentiary basis,” he said.

Amnesty has a long record of anti-Israel behavior. NGO Monitor says that the group “[d]isproportionately singles out Israel for condemnation, focusing solely on the conflict with the Palestinians, misrepresenting the complexity of the conflict, and ignoring more severe human rights violations in the region.”

Amnesty has described Israel of being an apartheid state, accuses it regularly of war crimes and has encouraged boycotts of Israeli settlement products. It has also called for a “comprehensive arms embargo on Israel.”

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