Instead of blaming Amnesty Int’l, the Israeli government should look at its own actions

28 Feb

Today, Amnesty international issued a report about the Israel Defense Force (IDF)’s actions against Palestinians between 2011 and 2013.

Reuters quotes part of the report as saying:

Israeli forces are using excessive, reckless violence in the occupied West Bank, killing dozens of Palestinians over the past three years in what might constitute a war crime, Amnesty International said on Thursday.

In a report entitled “Trigger Happy”, the human rights group accused Israel of allowing its soldiers to act with virtual impunity and urged an independent review of the deaths.

The IDF’s reaction: ” Amnesty International wholly ignores the substantial increase in Palestinian violence initiated over the past year, and shows a complete lack of understanding as to operational challenges the IDF faces.”

Meanwhile the Israeli foreign ministry has called the report “racist”.

My two cents:

Amnesty says that “14 of the deaths occurred during protests against Israel.”

Lets close our eyes and imagine for a moment that 14 Israelis were shot dead by the PLO while they were demonstrating. What would we as victims expect to happen? These people were not suicidal terrorists, they were demonstrating. Demonstration is not terrorism. 14 demonstrators were killed. How many responsible soldiers and commanders were sent to jail for these deaths? None.

How about the 16-year-old schoolboy Samir Awad who “was shot three times, including in the back of the head, after staging a protest near the Israeli separation barrier that divides his village from its historical farmlands.” Or,

“15-year-old Waji al-Ramahi shot in the back from a distance of some 200 metres in December 2013 near the Jalazun refugee camp” as reported by Amnesty.

I am very well aware of the Syrian regime killing 100,000 people and the world not caring. Yes I have seen the way the Iranian regime has little to no value for the life of its own citizens. And the yes the world does put Israel under a microscope while others get away with worst things. But none of these are reasons or justifications to ignore the crimes mentioned in the report. The moral decadence which such activity brings hurts innocent lives, and hurts our future.

I do not question or doubt the fact that Israel has many enemies abroad. Such behaviour does not provide us with security. It does not create deterrence. It never has. It never will. It only creates more enemies.

There is incitement in Palestinian schools. No doubt and they create hate. But how about also looking at our own behavior. Will the brother of Samir Awad, the 16 year old Palestinian who was shot in the back of the head need any more incitement than what happened to his own flesh and blood?

I would have to be a traitor to my humanity, to my Jewish education and to the state of Israel not to condemn such acts. I am not.

2 Responses to “Instead of blaming Amnesty Int’l, the Israeli government should look at its own actions”

  1. Anonymous February 28, 2014 at 2:46 am #

    It might help Amnesty’s case if they called it “disputed”, rather than “occupied”. Amnesty shoots themselves in the foot before they start.

  2. מוטי Motti February 28, 2014 at 8:46 pm #

    Hi Meir,
    First, the link in your post to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs isn’t working. Second, if I were an investigative journalist blogging about either the 14 Palestinian Arabs that Amnesty International states were killed by IDF forces and specifically the two listed in your blog, one who repeatedly ignored IDF warnings not to approach the security fence until he was shot and killed and the second about who we have no details about the circumstances in which the alleged killing took place, I would have been a lot less satisfied with and accepting at face value of Amnesty’s take and choice of wording reporting these incidents and would have strove to report both Amnesty’s statements fairly, but also strove to get more detail about the circumstances of these particular incidents and aquire a better understanding of IDF rules of engagement in order to report more fairly and more fully the IDFs perspective – which your blog post failed to do. Had I discovered that the IDF in fact breeched their own rules of engagement then I would have been very critical of their actions, but otherwise I would not have slanted my post as you did, posing as some sort of moralistic truth teller scolding Israel and the IDF for not practicing what they preach.

    Finally, even had I discovered that the IDF in fact breeched their own rules of engagement in the killing of Samir by the security fence and the killing of Waji from the alleged distance of 200 meters, and criticized the IDF for not prosecuting those responsible and taking action to make sure these types of incidents would be a lot less likely to occur again, I still would object to your phrasing: “Instead of blaming Amnesty. . .”, because Annesty International is culpable for spin doctoring, politicizing and even prevaricating especially in their reports about Israel’s conduct, but also in many other regards and criticism of this once respected human rights org. is very justified and necessary in addition to criticism of IDF breeches of conduct where such criticisms are warranted.

    Thanks

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