[Opinion] Rockets from Gaza are war crimes
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In the past month, Palestinians in Gaza have committed dozens of war crimes. They have launched deadly rockets and mortars at Israeli civilian targets in cities and towns across a very wide area. The terror teams who launch the rockets are murderers and those who give them direct support, protect them and provide them weapons are accomplices to their heinous crimes.
But those who target Israeli civilians from Gaza, in blatant violation of international law and basic morality, are enabled by a much larger group of people. These enablers include officials of numerous organizations that claim to promote human rights, and have remained largely silent for the many years in which these war crimes have been committed. Since August 2005, when the last Israeli civilians and military forces left Gaza, tens of thousands of rockets have been used to terrorize Israelis, but the failed network of human rights organizations has erased every one of these war crimes and violations.
The UN Human Rights Council has not held a single emergency session or other discussion on the crimes committed against Israelis. In contrast, on every occasion, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and her cohort of “special rapporteurs” have condemned Israeli efforts to end the terror, and invented war crimes allegations to advance these double standards.
In parallel, global human rights superpowers like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch manipulate international law to condemn and disproportionately focus on Israeli actions.
This deadly, immoral combination of distorted human rights mechanisms in the UN and its NGO allies has produced a series of headline-grabbing reports with invented allegations against Israel, but not a single report on the real war criminals.
Perhaps the most egregious example of this abuse of human rights was published on October 30, by the Gaza-based, EU-funded Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), in response to “crimes” and “grave breaches” perpetrated against “resistance groups throughout the Gaza Strip.” The supposed crimes, according to PCHR, consisted of killing nine “activists” who had been firing rockets at Israeli civilian centers or were training at an al-Quds Brigade facility, lightly and moderately wounding two civilians, and unspecified damage to a few residential buildings. As is course with these groups, PCHR neither condemned the dozens of rockets that injured scores and murdered an Israeli civilian driving near Ashkelon nor the “resistance activists” who used residential areas as launching pads.
PCHR’s statement would be laughable, if it weren’t so influential in the media, UN, EU and other platforms.
While EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton condemned “the indiscriminate targeting of civilians where ever they are,” she again equated deliberately indiscriminate attacks directed against Israeli civilians with precise strikes against the militants that launched said attacks.
Given that the EU is a major funder of PCHR, Ashton’s remarks are unsurprising. Just as terrorists benefit from their accomplices, NGOs that abuse human rights and make a mockery of international law benefit from their enablers.
As a funder of PCHR, (alongside Norway, Ireland, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Ford Foundation, Oxfam NOVIB, George Soros’ Open Society Institute, and Christian Aid) the EU and these governments and foundations are directly responsible for its morally bankrupt and baseless statements. There seem to be no Israeli self-defense measures that would be met with approval by the EU and “human rights” NGOs. Either the EU is promoting its own damaging policies via radical political action groups or the EU is simply parroting the groups it supports.
Whatever the causes may be, the pattern repeats continuously. The infamous Goldstone Report on the 2008-09 Gaza War was a regurgitation of false or unverifiable allegations made by these same NGOs. Not coincidentally, the “36 incidents” investigated by the UN committee only involve charges against Israel – not one relates to the thousands of Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza, each one of which constitutes a blatant war crime against Israeli civilians.
While Goldstone has since acknowledged this gross distortion, the NGOs and their funders have not. Along with funding PCHR, the EU and other European governments also provide the money that allows Gisha, Yesh Din, Al Haq and dozens more self-proclaimed “human rights” NGOs to peddle their ideologies. The secret processes through which this funding occurs protects the European governments from accountability in fueling the pseudo-human rights machine.
Every rocket attack, every murder and every attempted murder of an Israeli highlights the urgent need for an entirely new human rights movement, both in Israel and globally. New institutions and NGOs, which are not facades for political warfare, discrimination and hate-filled ideologies, are needed to uphold the standards of universal human rights.
The writer is president of NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institution dedicated to promoting universal human rights and to encouraging civil discussion on the reports and activities of nongovernmental organizations, particularly in the Middle East.