Summary: Amnesty International and Christian Aid issued highly politicized condemnations of Israeli policy in Gaza, minimizing the deaths of two Israeli children in a Palestinian missile attack and other victims that prompted Israeli military operations to defend itself.
Indiscriminate rocket attacks launched by Palestinian groups in Gaza have been taking an increasing toll against Israeli civilians. On 30 September, two Israeli children in the town of Sderot were killed, leading to a major military operation in the northern Gaza Strip designed to end these attacks. In response, Amnesty International and Christian Aid – two of the richest and most powerful "human rights" NGOs – issued one-sided and highly politicized condemnations of the Israeli policy. Both organizations have long histories of exploiting human rights in support of ideological objectives.
In a 5 October press statement, Amnesty International condemned "excessive use of force" but failed to mention the murders of the Israeli children. The last paragraph contains only the vague acknowledgement of the Palestinian terror that prompted the military operation.
Christian Aid also released a press statement on 6 October "Israeli assault on Gaza leaves scores dead and many homeless". While briefly mentioning the deaths of the two Israeli children, the statement is entirely unbalanced, and misleadingly refers to Sderot as an "Israeli settlement town" despite its location within Israel, a few kilometres from Gaza.
In addition to separating cause and effect, Amnesty quotes alleged Palestinian casualty figures from the Israeli operation while failing to provide sources of this information. Christian Aid on the other hand, relies on the politicized partner NGO — Betselem, — whose ‘eyewitnesses’ are Ahmed Sourani of the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees and Daud Asliya, "a 33-year-old resident of Jabalya refugee camp", thereby undermining the credibility of these claims.
Both Amnesty and Christian Aid are highly critical of Israel’s operations, with Amnesty claiming that the IDF has "repeatedly used excessive force" and that "These tactics betray a lack of respect for fundamental human rights principles, including the right to life." In responding to deadly terrorism, the term "excessive force" is subjective and politicized, and neither NGO has provided a consistent definition. The failure of Amnesty to condemn the cynical use of civilians as human shields by Palestinian terrorists launching Qassams from within densely populated sections of Gaza, suggests that this NGO is again exploiting human rights claims to promote a political ideology.
Amnesty and Christian Aid also criticize Israel for the harm caused to the everyday life of the Palestinian civilian population. Amnesty claims that "Israeli forces have hindered access to medical services… including women who need to give birth." Amnesty makes no mention of previous exploitation of such humanitarian claims to launch attacks and transport terrorists and weaponry. Christian Aid quotes Ahmed Sourani as blaming Israel for "hampering the registration process for Palestinians hoping to take part in municipal elections set for December", a political claim that ignores the chaos in Gaza that preceded the Israeli military operations. Absolving Palestinians of all responsibility for the current situation and exploiting the human rights rhetoric for political attacks, Christian Aid repeats Sourani’s claims that "Such aggressive incursions are not only killing the people in Gaza but are also killing the only available chance for democratic change and for building democratic civil society in Palestine."
Amnesty’s call on "Palestinian armed groups" to avoid carrying out military actions from within residential areas and to end attacks against Israeli civilians, is not enough to hold Palestinians accountable for the current situation or balance arbitrary charges of "excessive force". Christian Aid also demonstrates its objectives through the use of highly politicized sources that lack credibility. Both NGOs have again used the rhetoric of human rights and humanitarianism to promote an anti-Israel political agenda.