(Jerusalem) – Jerusalem based research organization NGO Monitor today published a detailed analysis of Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) allegations regarding the IDF’s use of drones during the Gaza conflict.  This analysis shows that HRW’s report is based on false claims and unverifiable evidence.

HRW’s report, titled ‘Precisely Wrong’, hinges on the allegation that Israel used highly accurate drones to deliver Spike missiles in 6 cases, and failed to take action which could have prevented the deaths of civilians.  NGO Monitor shows that HRW provides no substantive evidence for any of these claims, and Robert Hewson, editor of Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons described the claims as “fairly speculative.”  Underlining HRW’s lack of military expertise, British army colonel and former commander in Afghanistan, Richard Kemp, disputed HRW’s basic claim that Gazans were able to distinguish between drones and other less accurate weapons.

In addition, HRW repeats unsubstantiated ‘eyewitness’ testimony and speculation to assert, with absolute assurance, that each case constitutes “unlawful” Israeli action. In one example, regarding the Allaw family house, HRW simply asserts that the “The family knew of no Palestinian fighters nearby.”  And allegations of specific civilian casualties listed in these incidents are also unverifiable or false.

HRW uses the term “war crime” 7 times in the report.  This contrasts starkly with HRW’s reporting of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, which are attributed to “mistakes by the US and NATO”. The US is pressed to provide “timely compensation”, but not accused of war crimes.  Further evidence of this double standard is HRW’s admission that “Taliban shielding is a factor in some civilian deaths” in Afghanistan. Up until 5 August, HRW has failed to acknowledge or condemn the well-documented use of human shields by Hamas.

NGO Monitor’s President, Prof Gerald Steinberg commented, “HRW’s report and the undeserved credibility and attention it received is another example of the readiness to accept speculation and pseudo-technical language to indict Israel.  The misleadingly narrow focus erases the complex conditions of asymmetric warfare waged by Hamas from Gaza.  The claims in this publication were again based on a presumption of Israeli guilt, and the evidence is manufactured to fit the case.

After HRW’s recent Saudi fundraising efforts based on the shared goal of attacking Israel, this report is further evidence of this organization’s central role in destroying the moral foundation of human rights”.

Editors Notes:

Please click here to view the NGO Monitor review of HRW’s 2008 activities

Other recent publications and reports by NGO Monitor include:

HRW’s ‘Rain of Fire’:  Neither Thorough Nor Impartial – April 2, 2009

HRW and White Phosphorous: Condemn First, Correct (Maybe) Later
– January 14, 2009

Amnesty and HRW Lebanon War Claims Discredited – Dec 28, 2006