Click here to read NGO Monitor’s report: B’Tselem’s Credibility in the UNOCHA Protection Cluster: Casualty and Legal Allegations in the 2014 Gaza War (August 20, 2014)
Both the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Center and NGO watchdog organization NGO Monitor this week criticized the verification methods of the left-wing human rights group B’Tselem – The Israel Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories – for its claims of Gaza casualty numbers that were recently released for Operation Protective Edge.
The Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor issued a report titled “B’Tselem in the UNOCHA Protective Cluster: Casualty and Legal Allegations in the 2014 Gaza War,” in which it concluded that “the Israeli NGO B’Tselem has played a central role in allegations regarding civilian casualties during the 2014 war in Gaza.
B’Tselem presents what it terms ‘initial’ and ‘preliminary’ data, but these are inherently unverifiable and based solely on information from Palestinian sources in Hamas-controlled Gaza.”
NGO Monitor leveled criticism against B’Tselem for relying on the Hamas Health Ministry in Gaza as its “primary source for casualty claims,” asserting that “B’Tselem has no independent sources of information in Gaza, and as an Israeli organization, is unable to send personnel or verify information, particularly during major conflicts.
Its only source of independent information is from telephone interviews with Gaza residents, whose claims cannot be verified.”
“B’Tselem repeats claims from PCHR and Al Mezan – both Gazabased NGOs that are closely linked to the Hamas agenda. PCHR and Al Mezan are political organizations without credible methodologies for analysis of casualty claims, as shown in the January 2009 conflict [Operation Cast Lead],” alleged NGO Monitor.
It added that the B’Tselem data “provides the appearance of credulity to the casualty claims disseminated by UNRWA/OCHA [United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs] officials and repeated widely by journalists, political leaders, and others.”