(Jerusalem) – Jerusalem based research organization NGO Monitor has reviewed Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) publication (“White Flag Deaths”) alleging that the IDF killed 11 civilians holding white flags in Gaza. The publication and accompanying publicity campaign contain many fundamental deficiencies and inconsistencies:
- HRW had no presence in Gaza during the conflict. Therefore, the organization's Gaza ‘reports’, including “White Flag Deaths” are based entirely on unverifiable claims wrapped in a façade of research.
- The report’s co-author Joe Stork is a veteran anti-Israel political activist and the antithesis of a professional legal analyst. Before joining HRW, he was a leader of MERIP (Middle East Research and Information Project), whose publications have carried laudatory interviews with terrorist leaders and urged socialists to “comprehend the achievements” of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre.
- HRW’s publication fails to investigate incidents in which "white flags", ambulances and hospitals were used by Hamas to hide military activity. Instead, the entire report is designed to provide "evidence" of alleged Israeli war crimes (a term used 15 times).
- This publication relies on Palestinian ‘eyewitness’ testimony, such as the claims of Khalid Abd Rabbo. But Abd Rabbo's testimony in other reports is highly inconsistent, and fails to provide the information necessary for a serious analysis.
- Six of the seven alleged incidents are based on the unprovable ‘evidence’ from journalists or NGOs with highly biased agendas, including Breaking the Silence, Al Mezan and Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR).
- “White Flag Deaths”, like other HRW "research reports" goes out of its way to reject the well-documented utilization of human shields by Hamas. (In contrast, in an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Bill Van Esveld acknowledged this evidence. This glaring inconsistency further demonstrates the framework of HRW's activities with respect to Israel.)
- The report cites medical and ballistic records as ‘evidence’ of alleged white flag incidents, but these claims provide no information on the circumstances of the injuries, and are irrelevant to HRW's claims.
NGO Monitor’s President, Prof Gerald Steinberg said, “This is another HRW publication that substitutes speculation for serious research. The text reflects HRW’s consistent pattern with regard to the Middle East, with condemnation of Israel as its starting point, particularly in relation to the Gaza conflict. It is further evidence, if any were needed following the Saudi fundraising dinner that HRW is more interested in targeting Israel than in promoting universal human rights”.
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Please click here to view the NGO Monitor review of HRW’s 2008 activities
NGO Monitor was founded to promote transparency, critical analysis and debate on the political role of human rights organizations. For more information, see our website at
Other recent publications and reports by NGO Monitor include:-
Absolutely Wrong: Analysis of HRW Report, “Precisely Wrong” – Aug 6, 2009
HRW’s ‘Rain of Fire’: Neither Thorough Nor Impartial – April 2, 2009
Amnesty and HRW Lebanon War Claims Discredited – Dec 28, 2006
NGO Monitor's President is, Prof. Gerald Steinberg.
Members of NGO Monitor’s International Advisory Board include Elie Wiesel, Prof Alan Dershowitz, Sir Martin Gilbert, R. James Woolsey and Elliot Abrams
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