On November 12, Palestinian Islamic Jihad launched hundreds of rockets at Israeli population centers. According to media reports, one of these projectiles misfired, hitting a Gaza building that houses the office of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR).
However, several international and Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) immediately blamed Israel for the attack, providing no evidence for their claims.
This episode highlights the lack of rigorous fact-finding and objective analysis on the part of these organizations, which substitute politicized agendas for accuracy.
The following NGOs published statements condemning Israel for the attack. Some of these groups are tied to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is designated as a terrorist organization by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel.
(* designates NGO affiliated with the PFLP.)
- “We strongly condemn attack on the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights whose office in Gaza was struck by an Israeli missile earlier this morning. Strikes targeting civilian buildings is a violation of international law. We are sending our solidarity to @ICHR_Pal.” (Twitter, November 12)
After its initial statement, Amnesty backtracked partially when it became clear that Islamic Jihad terrorists were responsible for the rocket strike. Ironically, Amnesty discussed the importance of verification after it had accused Israel without confirmation.
- “Conflicting information is circulating about what exactly hit the @ichr_pal office in Gaza and where the attack came from. @amnesty is calling for an impartial investigation into this incident and other events in Gaza today” (Twitter, November 12)
- “We have already acknowledged there are conflicting reports about this attack & called for investigation to establish the facts. The Israeli authorities’ persistent refusal to grant @amnesty access to Gaza since 2012 only makes verifying the source of such attacks a harder task.” (Twitter, November 13)
- On November 12, Al-Dameer released a statement saying that “Israeli occupying forces bombed the building of the Independent Commission for Human Rights in the Gaza Strip.” Al-Dameer “condemn[ed] this crime” as “the targeting of human rights institutions in the Gaza Strip by the occupying power [is] a crime aimed at covering the heinous crimes being planned against civilians in the Gaza Strip in the context of the ongoing aggression.”
- On November 12, published a statement saying that “An Israeli missile targeted and destroyed a residential apartment on the third floor of Khayal Building, on al-Rasheed Street; no injuries were reported. Another missile hit the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) office in Harara Building in Gaza City center, causing grave damage.”
- Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) (PFLP-linked members include Al-Haq, Addameer, Al-Dameer, and Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P))
- On November 13, published a statement that the “headquarters of the Independent Commission for Human Rights, west of Gaza City, came under rocket fire Tuesday morning during the escalation of the Israeli occupation military operation in the Gaza Strip.” PHROC added that the “targeting of human rights institutions and activists comes in the context of targeting civilians and civilian objects, which is repeated in every aggression launched by the Israeli occupation forces on the Gaza Strip.”
- On November 12, published a statement that “Earlier today, Israel bombed the office of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR).” In the statement, CODEPINK Middle East campaign director Enas AlSaffadi, called on “the international community to hold Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accountable for war crimes and continuous breaches of international law. Israel cannot be a state above the law.” (emphasis in original)
- EuroMed Monitor
- Tweet by Muhammad Shehada (EuroMed Monitor’s Manager and Policy Officer): “#Breaking: Israeli drone strike targets the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights (highest National Human Rights institution), in central #Gaza. The fifth floor was largely affected, one employee injured.” (Twitter, November 12)