NGO Monitor calls on heads of amnesty, hrw and b’tselem to resign over failure to protest human shields in gaza

Release Date: 7th January 2009

(Jerusalem) – Prof. Gerald Steinberg, Executive Director of NGO Monitor, called today for the immediate resignation of the heads of powerful human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and B’tselem (based in Israel). He highlighted their direct moral responsibility for the deaths of both Palestinian and Israeli civilians, noting in particular their silence on the central issue of human shields used by Hamas in Gaza.

Hamas’ preparations for the current war, including the storage of weapons in civilian neighborhoods and schools are violations of fundamental moral and legal principles which are now resulting in numerous tragic deaths. Although these plans have been visible for a long time, human rights organizations which claim a moral mandate, have instead used their considerable resources to promote political bias and double standards.  They have chosen to distort international law, falsely accusing Israel of ‘collective punishment’ rather than focus on the core human rights violations of Hamas.

While the Hamas leadership was smuggling and manufacturing the thousands of rockets, mortars, and other weapons, declaring their intention to use them to terrorize Israel, these organizations turned a blind eye. Through the illegal use of human shields Hamas has exposed thousands of Palestinians to danger. Mosques, schools, hospitals and houses in densely crowded neighborhoods are used to manufacture, store and to launch weapons, and the sad results are now evident. Yet as these highly visible preparations for war were made in Gaza, the leaders of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, B’tselem and similar organizations focused instead on biased political campaigns condemning Israeli efforts to prevent the current humanitarian disaster.

Prof Steinberg commented, “The human rights community, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and B’tselem, failed to clearly and vocally oppose Hamas’ abuse of Gaza’s civilian population in the months prior to this operation.  These organizations and their leaders must now share the blame for the human cost.”    

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Editors Notes: 
For NGO Monitor’s full report on NGO condemnations of Israel’s operation in Gaza, please click here.

For further analysis, please click here for Prof Gerald Steinberg’s op-ed in the Jerusalem Post on 28th December.

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:-

Amnesty on Gaza (again): Ideology Instead of Research – August 14th, 2008

HRW’s Letter to President Bush:  The ‘Collective Punishment’ Hoax – June 16th, 2008

NGO Campaigns on Israel’s Gaza Policy – January 22nd 2008

NGO Monitor’s Executive Director is, Prof. Gerald Steinberg. 

Members of NGO Monitor’s International Advisory Board include Elie Wiesel, Prof Alan Dershowitz, Sir Martin Gilbert and R. James Woolsey 

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