Amnesty International Accuses Hezbollah of War Crimes
Amnesty International (AI) issued a report on September 14, 2006 entitled Hezbollah’s Attacks on Northern Israel. The report, which was intended to balance AI’s report on Israel issued on August 23, ("Amnesty continues to distort human rights rhetoric to attack Israeli actions in Lebanon," NGO Monitor, Sept. 4, 2006), examines the impact of Hezbollah’s missile attacks on Israel’s civilian population. This report refers to the firing of missiles as indiscriminate and calls these actions war crimes, rejecting the justifications that had been presented by Hezbollah. Amnesty notes that it will address the use of human shields by Hezbollah for storing and launching missiles in a later report (this is also a violation of international law), while ignoring Hezbollah’s status as a terror group, as declared by the US, Canada, Israel, and other countries.
- On August 20, The Daily Telegraph reported that Oxfam rejected a potential £1 million from the U.K. government’s Department for International Development (DFID) for reconstruction in Lebanon. Oxfam stated that accepting British government money could compromise it’s neutrality due to the U.K.’s official stance during the conflict.
- The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Euro-Mediterranean Non-Governmental Platform (EMNGP), and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) sent a delegation to Lebanon from 11 to 17 August 2006, "with the objective of demonstrating its solidarity with Lebanese civil society and evaluate the situation." In a press release of August 31, the delegation stated that "flagrant and grave breaches of the fourth Geneva Convention have been committed by the Israeli authorities. According to the mission, such acts are to be qualified as war crimes."
- On August 22, an AmeriCares airlift, partnered by American Near East Refugee Assistance (ANERA), arrived in Beirut with more than 15 tons of essential medicines and relief materials. ANERA has so far delivered $5 million of medicines and medical supplies to nearly 500 charities, government clinics and hospitals in Lebanon during and after the recent conflict.
- On August 16, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) announced that its "Expert Legal Inquiry" would investigate infractions of "international humanitarian law and human rights law" during the recent Lebanon conflict. It will focus on "methods of war on both sides that have caused the greatest loss of civilian life." The ICJ also called for a UN inquiry into alleged violations of international law during the war.
- Sabeel, a radical Palestinian NGO which has played a key role in promoting church divestment from Israel, issued a press release on August 2.Â It condemned Israel’s operations in Lebanon, attributed the war to the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem in 1948 and the "occupation" by Israel and America of other people’s land in the Middle East. The statement declares that in "the massacre in the village of Qana in the south of Lebanon on July 30th…over 60 people were killed". The figures provided by the Red Cross on July 30 stated that 28 people had been killed. Sabeel has not corrected this error.
- NGO Monitor examined the response of major NGO’s throughout the recent Lebanon conflict, and compiled a comprehensive file of key statements, many of which demonstrated political objectives. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International’s coverage was noticeably one-sided and relied on distorted interpretations of international law.Â During and after the war, their approach was widely criticised, while their officials attempted to defend their actions.