Release Date: March 3rd, 2008

(Jerusalem) – Jerusalem based watchdog NGO Monitor today called on human rights groups and NGOs to end their political use of international law as the violence in the Gaza region continues.

Amnesty International’s March 2 press release made the unsubstantiated accusation that Israeli responses "are being carried out with reckless disregard for civilian life". Although some NGOs have included condemnation of Hamas for indiscriminate attacks on Israeli civilians in Sderot and other communities, they simultaneously create a false moral equivalence with Israel’s responses.  Amnesty called on "Palestinian armed groups" to "immediately stop the barrage of rockets into southern Israel" but falsely referred to Israeli actions as "unlawful attacks", and erroneously condemned "disproportionate attacks and collective punishment in Gaza". These terms are applied arbitrarily, with no explanation of how they are appropriate to this situation under international law. This pattern reinforces previous evidence that NGOs such as Amnesty and Human Rights Watch lack competence in this area, and use this language to reinforce their political opinions.

As reported by NGO Monitor , NGO use of the term "disproportionate" to describe Israel’s military response to rocket fire, lacks any legal or moral foundation.  Indeed a number of experts have shown that under international law, Israel’s responses to aggression are entirely legal, while Hamas is guilty of aggression and war crimes in its unprovoked bombardment of Israeli civilians.  Instead of examining the moral and legal reality, these NGOs employ a highly simplistic interpretation of international law, which legitimizes aggression and the use of human shields by groups such as Hamas and Hizbollah.   

NGO Monitor Executive Director, Prof Gerald Steinberg commented: ‘NGOs and human rights groups must end their irresponsible and immoral use of legal rhetoric.  False claims of disproportionate force and collective punishment by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch make a mockery of international law.’


Editors Notes:

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:

Analyzing the NGO Campaign on Gaza – Beyond the Rhetoric – Jan 22, 2008

Human Rights Watch’s Cluster Munitions Report: Under the Façade – Feb 17, 2008

NGO Bias in pre-Annapolis Political Statements on Gaza – Nov 26, 2007

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

For further information, comment or interviews, contact Dan Kosky

+972 (0) 546-305-504

NGO Monitor – 13 Tel Hai St. – Jerusalem 92107 –   Israel – T: +972-2-566-1020 F: +972-2-5619112