Initial Analysis of Amnesty’s 2016 Annual Report
Amnesty International has released its 2016/17 Annual Report.
An initial review of the section headlined “Israel and the OPT” reveals that, like Amnesty’s other publications relating to the conflict, the Annual Report has fundamental flaws:
- Pre-launch message control: Amnesty launched its report on February 21 with a secret press conference for pre-selected journalists and allies. By not holding a fully open press conference for the public, Amnesty was seeking to control and manipulate the flow of information appearing in the media.
- No methodology: No sources for any of the claims or way to verify any of it. No evidence to back up serious allegations of human rights abuses. Under these circumstances, none of the accusations should be repeated.
- No legal methodology: No definitions of legal terms, including torture, unlawful killings, excessive force, unfair military trials, harsh sentences, and minor offences.
- Ignoring inconvenient facts: Amnesty alleges that “Israel’s government … failed to ensure accountability either for the extensive war crimes and other grave violations of international law that Israeli forces committed during recent armed conflicts in Gaza and Lebanon or for unlawful killings, torture and other violations that Israeli soldiers and security officials continued to commit against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza” and “The Israeli army, Ministry of Justice and police also did not investigate, failed to investigate adequately, or closed investigations into cases of alleged unlawful killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces in both Israel and the OPT.” This ignores long-standing procedures for review in the Israeli military and civilian justice system, as well as recent reviews and upgrades including the Turkel Commission, dozens of cases under review by the Military Advocate General regarding the Gaza War, and the myriad of reports released by the IDF and the government regarding those reviews.
- Misleading section titles: The section on “unlawful killings” contains incidents that are actually on the whole perfectly lawful killings. As acknowledged by Amnesty, “Most of those killed were shot while attacking Israelis or suspected of intending an attack.” A better title would have been “Terror Attacks,” but there is no such section.
- Refusing to call out a culture of domestic violence and honor killings in the Israeli-Arab community: The report mention that “violence against women” occurs “particularly within Palestinian communities in Israel.” However, it blames the police for not affording “adequate protection.”