As noted, following February’s virulent condemnations of Israel’s actions in Gaza, which largely ignored rocket attacks and portray Israel as the aggressor, a number of NGOs have continued to use the rhetoric of international law to delegitmize Israel’s responses.
Statements from Gisha, Al Mezan, Amnesty, Adalah and Christian Aid included accusations of "collective punishment," (Al Mezan, Amnesty and Christian Aid) "disproportionate" attacks (Gisha and Amnesty), "gross human rights violations" (Al Mezan) and "war crimes" (Adalah). World Vision also released a statement blaming Israel for "toxic" water in Gaza.
Amnesty’s March 3 statement, "Children and Civilian Bystanders in Gaza Death Toll", states that "Israel has a legal obligation to protect the civilian population of Gaza," and alleges "these attacks are disproportionate and go beyond lawful measures which Israeli forces may take in response to rocket attacks by Palestinian armed groups." NGO Monitor’s response demonstrated that Amnesty relied on unsubstantiated claims and erroneously applied international law such as the use of the legal terms "reckless" and "disproportionate". A number of experts have shown that under international law Israel’s responses to aggression have been entirely legal, while Hamas is guilty of aggression and war crimes in its unprovoked bombardment of Israeli civilians. Thus, 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 Amnesty lacks competence in this area, and uses this language to reinforce its political opinions.
- See also "Notable and Quotable", March 11, 2008, New York Sun editorial criticizes NGO condemnations of Israel Gaza policy, pointing to Israel’s humanitarian aid supplies.
- And Letter to the Editor (in response to the Editorial), March 12, 2008, by Marc Stern, Assistant Executive Director American Jewish Congress, who adds a critique of the "collective punishment" term as applied to Gaza.