Amnesty International – 23
B’Tselem – 1
Christian Aid – 9
EMHRN – 3
EuroMed – 1
Human Rights Watch – 28
ICAHD (Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions) – 1
International Commission of Jurists – 2
International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH) – 6
KAIROS – 1
Medecins Sans Frontieres – 3
MIFTAH – 6
Norwegian Peoples Aid (NPA) – 2
Oxfam – 11
Physicians for Human Rights – Israel – 1
PNGO – Palestinian NGO Network – 2
UNICEF – 2
War on Want – 1
World Vision International – 6
Total: 109 entries
Common themes in the NGO statements include:
- Accusations of "disproportionate force" by Israel, with no explanation of what would comprise a proportionate response to Hezbollah terror and missile attacks;
- Judgements and claims regarding "military targets" in the context of asymmetric warfare that most humanitarian and human rights NGOs are not equipped to make;
- Condemnation of Israel’s targeting of bridges, major roads and the Beirut Airport as "collective punishment," despite the clear military rationale of sealing off air and sea ports, roads and other such targets to prevent the re-supply of arms from Syria and Iran.
- Political lobbying such as sending letters to politicians demanding that pressure be brought to bear on Israel;
- Little mention that Hezbollah’s concrete reinforced military headquarters are located under buildings in southern Beirut, and that the positioning of military/guerrilla installations in residential areas is considered a war crime, as defined by Protocol I (1977) to the Geneva Convention, article 51(7), relating to human shields. Hezbollah also stores and launches missiles from civilian villages in southern Lebanon, but NGOs dismiss or ignore the human rights implications of Hezbollah’s use of human shields.
- Minimal references to the role of Iran and Syria in providing missiles and support to Hizbollah;
- Few NGOs call for the release of the two abducted Israeli soldiers, and there is little attention given to Israeli IDPs (internally displaced persons) numbering at least 300,000,(Link has expired) or to Israeli victims of Hezbollah rocket attacks.
- Both Israel and Hezbollah’s actions described as "war crimes."
- Israel must "respect the principle of proportionality when targeting any military objectives or civilian objectives", but no standard provided for determining proportionality in the wake of Hezbollah’s attacks.
- "Israel must put an immediate end to attacks against civilians", falsely asserting that Israel deliberately targets civilians, in a manner similar to Hezbollah.
- IDF strikes on infrastructure targets constitute "collective punishment."
- Also says "Hezbollah must stop launching attacks against Israeli civilians."
- "This review is necessary not just because Israel is systematically and deliberately breaching international law by targeting civilians…"
- Also calls on the Lebanese government and Hezbollah to "end attacks against civilians."
- Demands that UN Security Council suspend "all military supplies to Israel and Hezbollah until each party institutes the appropriate measures to ensure that civilians and civilian objects are not attacked." Promotes moral equivalence between a democratic-country acting in self-defense and a terrorist organization.
- "The death and injury toll and the massive damage to civilian objects indicate that some attacks may have been indiscriminate or disproportionate."
- "It is unclear whether any of Hizbullah’s rocket and missile strikes have been aimed at military targets. If they were, they would be indiscriminate attacks, given the nature of the weapons used."
- "Reports that Israel has warned all civilians living south of the Litani River to leave suggest it is distorting the concept of effective warning. If anything, such warning to over 400,000 people seems to result in spreading panic among the civilian population, rather than enhancing their safety."
- "Tens of thousands of Israeli civilians have fled northern Israel for fear of further rocket and missile attacks by Hizbullah."
- "Hizbullah reportedly have been launching rockets and missiles from residential areas, thereby endangering civilians in the vicinity. Their fighters are also said to be sheltering among civilians in villages and cities, and Israeli officials claim that Hizbullah are storing weapons in civilian homes."
- "Hizbullah’s use of Katyusha rockets and longer-range missiles against Israeli cities and towns violates the prohibition on indiscriminate attack, even when they appear to have been directed at legitimate targets, such as military bases"
- "There are reports that Israel has used incendiary weapons, such as white phosphorous shells, in attacks in Lebanon."
- "The international community must ensure that Hizbullah and Israel comply with international humanitarian law."
- "Governments supplying Israel and Hizbullah with arms and military equipment are fuelling their capacity to commit war crimes. All governments should impose an arms embargo on both sides and refuse permission for their territories to be used for the transfer of arms and military equipment."
- "It is utterly shameful that governments who have influence over Israel and Hizbollah and who could help end this crisis, continue to prioritize political and military interests over innocent lives of civilians."
- "Both sides to this conflict have shown a blatant disregard for the laws of war and civilians on both sides are paying the price as war crimes abound, Amnesty International said today."
- "The investigation carried out by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) into the air-missile attack on Qana was clearly inadequate and reinforces the need for the urgent dispatch of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC)."
- "An Amnesty International mission is currently in Lebanon to carry out research into human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law during the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hizbullah…Another Amnesty International mission is going to Israel… to investigate the impact of Hizbullah rocket attacks on civilians in northern Israel and to obtain information from the Israeli authorities about investigations they have announced into some of the killings by their forces in south Lebanon."
- "Governments must stop fuelling this suffering by imposing an arms embargo against Israel and Hizbullah and refusing to allow the transfer of weapons to or through their territories."
- "In village after village, we saw a similar story: evidence of families leaving quickly, abandoning food and laundry as though they didn’t expect to be away for long. The bodies of people killed in their homes in several villages are still under the rubble."
- "Usually on a Friday morning both Carmiel and Haifa would be bustling with people doing their shopping for the Sabbath. But we were all very surprised at how quiet they were, Carmiel in particular was virtually empty of people on the streets."
- "On Friday 5 August, at least 23 Syrian agricultural workers were killed by Israeli forces on a farm in the village of al-Qaa…Over the past four days, rockets fired by Hizbullah from southern Lebanon at Israel are also said to have killed at least 14 civilians. These kinds of attacks by both sides have become part of an increasingly entrenched pattern which includes war crimes."
- "The [UN Security Council] resolution needs to ensure the establishment of an impartial and independent enquiry to investigate conduct on each side, both of which are alleged to have committed serious violations, amounting to war crimes. The organization is urging the Security Council to call for an immediate, full and effective ceasefire to protect civilians in Lebanon and Israel."
- "Thousands of civilians are trapped in villages in southern Lebanon, where they are at grave risk from frequent Israeli air strikes and shelling. They are cut off from the outside world, in increasingly difficult conditions, with no access to medical services, adequate food, electricity or fuel. Among them are elderly and disabled people, as well as women and children."
- "Amnesty International urges the Security Council to immediately request the Secretary-General to establish an authoritative team of experts to conduct a comprehensive, timely, independent and impartial inquiry into violations of international law in Lebanon and Israel. These violations have resulted in… the displacement of more than half a million Lebanese and tens of thousands of Israelis."
- "Amnesty International believes that serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes, are likely to have been committed by forces of Israel and Hizbollah in the course of the current conflict."
- "Amnesty International has launched an "Urgent Action" to its 1.8 million members around the world calling on them to write to the Israeli Minister of Defence, Amir Peretz, asking him to take urgent steps to ensure safe passage for civilians in the south of Lebanon."
- "The Israeli authorities must allow immediate and unimpeded humanitarian access, as well as safe passage out of Southern Lebanon. It is absolutely shameful that humanitarian convoys trying to deliver badly needed aid cannot gain safe access."
- "The Members of the Human Rights Council have a duty to address the current human rights and humanitarian crisis in Lebanon and Israel on the basis of the principles of impartiality, objectivity, constructive dialogue and cooperation…. Amnesty International encourages governments to rise above the temptations of political advantage to enable this Council to make a contribution to ending the suffering in Lebanon and Israel."
- "The organisation’s [AI’s] on-site investigations reveal that in the conduct of their military operations, Israeli forces have routinely violated both the principle of distinction between civilians and military targets and the principle of proportionality, in disregard of international humanitarian law. They have also unlawfully targeted civilian objects. Prima facie these violations amount to war crimes."
- "Civilians in Northern Israel have been subjected to continuous rocket attacks from Hizbullah who have fired an average of one hundred (100) rockets each day…There is solid evidence that many of these attacks have been deliberately targeted at civilian buildings and residential areas…This deliberate targeting of rockets on civilian areas constitutes a direct attack on the civilian population that is unlawful and amounts to a prima facie war crime."
- "Amnesty International calls on the Human Rights Council to condemn the abuse of international human rights law and humanitarian law by all parties to the current hostilities in Lebanon and Israel."
- "Members of the UN Human Rights Council today failed sadly in their responsibility to address the full range of abuses being committed by both Israel and Hizbullah and put politics before lives, Amnesty International said today"
- "[M]embers’ focus on their narrow political objectives resulted in a highly-politicised resolution that muted the Council’s voice by ignoring the violations of one party to the conflict."
- "Amnesty International welcomed the Council’s call for a high-level commission of inquiry into serious violations committed by Israel, but noted that the Council completely failed to address serious abuses being committed by Hizbullah."
- "It is deeply regrettable that the resolution failed to meet the principles of impartiality and objectivity expected of the Human Rights Council," said Peter Splinter [Amnesty International’s Representative at the United Nations in Geneva]."
- "Amnesty International is calling on the UN Security Council to request the UN Secretary-General to establish immediately a comprehensive, independent and impartial inquiry into violations of international humanitarian law by both sides of the conflict, including violations which may amount to war crimes."
- "Israel’s assertion that the attacks on the infrastructure were lawful is manifestly wrong. Many of the violations identified in our report are war crimes, including indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks."
- "The pattern, scope and scale of the attacks makes Israel’s claim that this was ‘collateral damage’, simply not credible," said Kate Gilmore, Executive Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International."
- "The evidence strongly suggests that the extensive destruction of public works, power systems, civilian homes and industry was deliberate and an integral part of the military strategy, rather than "collateral damage" – incidental damage to civilians or civilian property resulting from targeting military objectives."
- "Amnesty International has appealed to the informal EU Foreign Ministers meeting in Finland tomorrow, to actively support the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in establishing a comprehensive investigation into violations of human rights in Lebanon and Israel."
- "Amnesty International’s own recent findings point to war crimes having been committed on both sides."
- "Hundreds of thousands of civilians, particularly children, in south Lebanon are at risk from unexploded cluster bombs fired by Israeli forces during the 34-day conflict between Israel and Hizbullah."
- "According to the UN Mine Action Coordination Center, which is organizing the clearance of unexploded ordnance in Lebanon, Israel has provided some maps but these are inadequate as they refer to areas "likely to contain unexploded ordnance" without indicating whether these are cluster bombs or other unexploded munitions."
- "B’Tselem’s mandate is limited to human rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The organization is therefore not documenting human rights violations in this conflict."
- "However….Over the past week, Israel has killed hundreds of Lebanese civilians in its attacks against targets in Lebanon . There is a concern that at least some of them were disproportionate attacks, which constitute war crimes"
- Acknowledges that "Hezbollah has been launching numerous deliberate attacks against Israeli civilians in the north of the country, which have killed and injured many civilians."
- Legitimizes Hezbollah’s attack by stating that it was "an attempt to negotiate the release of Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails."
- No mention that the three Lebanese prisoners held by Israel are terrorists, one of whom, Samir Kuntar, was convicted by an Israeli court in 1979 of two murders, including the beating to death of a four year old girl.
- "Days of dread and despair long-lived by the Lebanese during the war seem to have returned." No mention of emotions of Israelis under rocket fire. As in other recent CA reports, the text was emotive so as to direct the reader to a clear political agenda.
- One sentence about attacks on Israel: Hezbollah "fired rockets from Lebanon today, killing one Israeli civilian and injuring 29 others."
- "The stability of the entire region is under threat as Israel responds to the kidnapping of two of its soldiers by the militant group Hezbollah with aerial attacks on Lebanon. Hezbollah has retaliated with rocket attacks on Israeli towns." Israel is responsible for destabilizing the Middle East and Hezbollah’s actions are portrayed as "retaliation" rather than unprovoked aggression.
- One of CA’s partner NGOs, Ittijah, said that "from a peaceful and secure country, Lebanon has become a shattered country", but did not illicit any such sympathy for the citizens of northern Israeli towns who have been under regular rocket fire since July 12.
- Statement recognizes that "civilians in northern Israel are also spending much of the day in air-raid shelters to avoid Hezbollah rockets."
- "’We hope that we can help keep a lid on this crisis. But of course, the longer this military campaign continues the worse the situation will get." No mention of Hezbollah, only Israel’s "constant attack and … the beginnings of a potential humanitarian crisis."
- CA joins with Save the Children, Oxfam, Islamic Relief, CAFOD, World Vision and CARE International UK to "urgently call for an immediate ceasefire by all sides." This opens the door to further attacks by Hezbollah.
- "Despite being physically and morally exhausted from the scale of destruction facing Lebanon, those working with MS [Mouvement Social] have chosen to stay and help those most in need."
- "’The war should end because it is not the solution – it never was the solution,’ said [Pascale] Kolakez, [a psychologist]. ‘People and children are dying, families are dying…’"
- "Christian Aid has again called for an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon in an attempt to avert a humanitarian crisis."
- "’Tony Blair’s policy is having the opposite effect that he wants it to. He is driving moderate, normal people into the arms of Hezbollah. Hezbollah is feeding people who have been displaced in Beirut.’"
- "Christian Aid has again called for an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon in an attempt to avert a humanitarian crisis."
- "’Tony Blair’s policy is having the opposite effect that he wants it to. He is driving moderate, normal people into the arms of Hezbollah. Hezbollah is feeding people who have been displaced in Beirut.’"
- "Losing your home and being forced to flee from aerial bombing is terrifying enough for the physically fit, healthy and able-bodied. But for wheelchair users, and people suffering from chronic conditions like epilepsy, the trauma is multiplied."
- "Campaigning by thousands of Christian Aid supporters has influenced diplomatic thinking at the highest levels. The Prime Minister himself telephoned Christian Aid director, Dr Daleep Mukarji, at the weekend to ask for his thoughts on resolving the Middle East crisis."
- According to media reports, Lebanese and Palestinian officials said an Israeli gunship shelled the Ein el-Hilweh camp on the outskirts of the town of Sidon, south of the capital Beirut, killing at least one person. The Israeli military said the attack was an air strike that targeted a house in the camp used by Hezbollah guerrillas.
- "On 12 July 2006 Hizbullah forces engaged Israeli forces capturing two Israeli soldiers….While Israeli forces have attacked Hizbullah they have also deliberately targeted Lebanese infrastructure objects…These attacks constitute collective punishment and are a serious violation of international law."
- "Hizbullah also launched hundreds of missiles in numerous deliberate attacks against Israeli civilians…These attacks constitute a serious violation of international humanitarian law."
- "The EMHRN further calls: For an end to the Israeli occupation; Upon all parties to respect the sovereignty of the State of Lebanon."
- The EMHRN Executive Committee…again express their deep concern about the situation in Lebanon and in Gaza.
- The EMHRN notes that the Israeli government is submitting Lebanon, from the north to the south, to an aggression aimed at systematically destroying its infrastructure. The immense losses inflicted on the civilian population are not collateral effects of the conflict with Hezbollah, but show a deliberate wish to collectively punish a whole people, including arbitrary killing…The indiscriminate targeting and the scale and ferocity of the violence, deliberately planned by the Israeli government, constitute an exceptional grave violation of the Geneva Conventions.
- The EMHRN repeats its condemnation of all attacks perpetrated against the civilian populations in Lebanon, Gaza and Israel which constitute war crimes
- EMHRN calls for: all efforts to be employed in urgently obtaining a cease fire and stopping the Israeli occupation of Lebanon.
- See below, FIDH Press Release August 31, Return of a mission: Preliminary observations
Euromed Non-Governmental Platform (an NGO network working with the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership)
- "Detainees and captured persons should be liberated, and we condemn and reject all acts of violence against civil populations."
- "The Euro-Mediterranean Non-Governmental Platform strongly condemns the Israeli aggressions which are a striking violation of International Law."
- "Nothing could justify the collective punishment inflicted to the Palestinian people or the destruction of the Beirut airport’s tracks or bridges."
- EU "should intervene quickly and firmly in order to stop the Israeli government’s military operations which are threatening the entire region with its dangerous escalation."
- "Israeli military officials and Hezbollah leaders traded threats to attack areas populated by civilians," erasing the facts and context.
July 17 Report "Questions and Answers on Hostilities Between Israel and Hezbollah" (See detailed analysis of selective and distorted application of International Law in this HRW publication, by Dr. Avi Bell.)
- Charges that IDF actions "open the door to deliberately attacking civilians and civilian objects themselves – in short to terrorism," and that Israel’s "destruction seems aimed more at…preventing [the civilian population] from fleeing the fighting and seeking safety,"
- Also states that the IDF’s arguments for bombing Beirut airport "are at best debatable", which follows a noticeable trend in which HRW makes assertions that require a level of military expertise that it does not possess and is not part of its mandate.
- States in a number of places that it "sets out these rules before it has been able to conduct extensive on-the-ground investigation," demonstrating the primacy of its political agenda over accurate analysis.
- Discusses the use of human shields but does not state that Hezbollah has contravened this precept of international law by placing its headquarters in a residential area of southern Beirut
- Calls on Israel to investigate the mistaken targeting of a civilian convoy by the IDF without including the context of the response to missile attacks, and despite the IDF’s expression of regret for the casualties.
- Hezbollah rocket attacks are "at best indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas, at worst the deliberate targeting of civilians." "Attacking civilian areas indiscriminately is a serious violation of international humanitarian law and can constitute a war crime…Hezbollah’s use of warheads that have limited military use and cause grievous suffering to the victims only makes the crime worse."
- This statement specifically addresses war crimes by a terror group but is ignored in the numerous other HRW statements that condemn Israel for "disproportional force," "war crimes" and "violations of international law", revealing the NGO’s core bias.
- "If attacks are hitting relief and medical convoys, the implications for civilian protection are serious. Such attacks would indicate that Israel is failing to take appropriate precautions to avoid targeting civilian objects." Another statement without context.
- "Israel should warn people of attacks, but those warnings can’t be used to justify harming civilians who remain," said Sarah Leah Whitson, director of the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch
- Cites IDF statement that describes Hezbollah’s use of civilians as human shields in Southern Lebanon, but does not explore the implications.
- "We urge you to request that Israel immediately re-examine its military practices to ensure that they strictly comply with the requirements of international humanitarian law."
- (Cluster Munitions are not prohibited by international law, and have only been banned by Belgium. Norway has committed to a moratorium on their use.)
- "The United Nations has estimated that there is up to 500,000 displaced people in Lebanon today. That’s almost a quarter of the population of Lebanon."
- "This is totally different from the kind of bombardment that we saw in Iraq and Afghanistan. Certainly we documented a lot of civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan when we worked there, but at least in most of those cases we were able to determine what the specific military objective was that the U.S. hoped to achieve by these military strikes."
- "Syria should urge Hezbollah forces not to undertake attacks that violate international humanitarian law."
- "Targeting civilians deliberately or indiscriminately is unlawful in all circumstances, and Hezbollah must take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian harm by not attacking military objects if the anticipated harm to civilians will be disproportionate to the expected military advantage… Launching attacks in violation of these rules is often a war crime."
- "We hope that you will use your influence with Hezbollah to ensure that its means and methods of attack can and do discriminate between military and civilian targets and objects."
- Almost identical letter to the one sent to Bashar al-Assad.
- "Iran should call for an end to Hezbollah’s repeated attacks on civilian-populated areas of northern Israel with rockets whose inability to be targeted makes them inherently indiscriminate and therefore unlawful"
- "Iran should seek assurances from Hezbollah that the organization is not locating weapons, launching attacks, and stationing combatants in civilian structures or in or close to civilian populated areas."
- "Responsibility for the Israeli airstrikes that killed at least 54 civilians sheltering in a home in the Lebanese village of Qana rests squarely with the Israeli military, Human Rights Watch said today. It is the latest product of an indiscriminate bombing campaign that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have waged in Lebanon over the past 18 days, leaving an estimated 750 people dead, the vast majority of them civilians."
- "Even if the IDF claims of Hezbollah rocket fire from the Qana area are correct, Israel remains under a strict obligation to direct attacks at only military objectives…To date, Israel has not presented any evidence to show that Hezbollah was present in or around the building that was struck at the time of the attack."
- "Endless communiqués insist that Israel’s behaviour is "proportionate". Let us be blunt: those claims are fantasy, as the carnage in Qana has shown once again."
- "Although mistakes are made in the fog of fighting, the pattern of Israeli behavior in southern Lebanon suggests a deliberate policy."
- "Israel blames Hezbollah for the massive civilian toll in Lebanon, claiming that they are hiding the rockets they are firing at Israel, in civilian homes, and that they are fighting from within the civilian population. This is a convenient excuse."
- "Our investigations have not found evidence to support Israeli allegations that Hezbollah are intentionally endangering Lebanese civilians by systematically fighting from civilian positions. We can’t exclude the possibility that it happens – but time and again villagers tell us that Hezbollah is fighting from the hills."
- "A preliminary Human Rights Watch investigation into the July 30 Israeli air strike in Qana found that 28 people are confirmed dead thus far, among them 16 children, Human Rights Watch said today."
- "Again and again, Israeli forces have fired at dubious military targets with a high civilian cost," [Sarah Leah] Whitson said. "Their brazen behavior has costs hundreds of lives."
- "The pattern of [Israeli] attacks in more than 20 cases investigated by Human Rights Watch researchers in Lebanon indicates that the failures cannot be dismissed as mere accidents and cannot be blamed on wrongful Hezbollah practices. In some cases, these attacks constitute war crimes."
- "Hezbollah fighters must not hide behind civilians – that’s an absolute – but the image that Israel has promoted of such shielding as the cause of so high a civilian death toll is wrong," [Kenneth] Roth said."
- "Hezbollah has occasionally stored weapons in or near civilian homes and placed rocket launchers within populated areas or near United Nations observers.
- "In some cases, the timing and intensity of the attack, the absence of a military target, as well as return strikes on rescuers, suggest that Israeli forces deliberately targeted civilians."
- "The [HRW] team focused on interviewing witnesses and survivors of Israeli strikes inside Lebanon, gathering detailed testimony from these individuals, and carefully corroborating and cross-checking their accounts with international aid workers, international and local journalists, medical professionals, local officials, as well as information from the IDF."
- "The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) inquiry into the July 30 killing of at least 28 civilians in Qana is incomplete and legally misguided, and contradicts eyewitness testimony, Human Rights Watch said today. The findings underline the need for an independent international inquiry into what took place."
- "With hundreds of Lebanese civilians killed in three weeks of bombing, Israel clearly isn’t doing enough to avoid such loss of life."
- "In many cases, Lebanese civilians who have survived air strikes on their homes or vehicles have told Human Rights Watch that Hezbollah was nowhere nearby when the attack took place."
- "Hezbollah must immediately stop firing rockets into civilian areas in Israel, Human Rights Watch said today. Entering the fourth week of attacks, such rockets have claimed 30 civilian lives, including six children, and wounded hundreds more."
- "Lobbing rockets blindly into civilian areas is without doubt a war crime," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. "Nothing can justify this assault on the most fundamental standards for sparing civilians the hazards of war."
- "The United Nations should immediately launch an international investigation into civilian deaths in Lebanon and northern Israel, Human Rights Watch said today."
- "In several reports in the last four weeks, Human Rights Watch has documented indiscriminate use of force against civilians by both the Israel Defense Forces and Hezbollah. Human Rights Watch researchers…described a systematic failure by the Israeli forces to distinguish between combatants and civilians that may constitute war crimes."
- "Human Rights Watch also accused Hezbollah of committing war crimes by deliberately and indiscriminately killing civilians…"
- "If this Council neglects to consider the full conflict, and looks at violations of international law only by Israel while ignoring violations by Hezbollah, its pronouncements will lack credibility and be futile."
- "Human Rights Watch’s research shows that Israeli forces have consistently launched artillery and air attacks with limited or dubious military gain but excessive civilian cost."
- "Although our investigations are still ongoing, HRW has collected evidence that Hezbollah has stored weapons in or near civilian homes and that fighters placed rocket launchers within populated areas or near U.N. observers."
- "The draft resolution before the U.N. Human Rights Council on the situation in Lebanon is a politicized and one-sided initiative that will do nothing to protect the victims of violence in this conflict, Human Rights Watch said today. To make a difference, the council must condemn violations of international human rights and humanitarian law by both Israel and Hezbollah"
- "By adopting a politicized resolution that looks only at Israeli abuses in the current conflict, the Human Rights Council undermined its credibility and wasted an opportunity to protect civilians in the region, Human Rights Watch said today. The council decided to establish a commission of experts to investigate deadly attacks by Israel, but took no action with regard to Hezbollah’s murderous abuses."
- "The one-sided approach taken by the Human Rights Council is a blow to its credibility and an abdication of its responsibility to protect human rights for all," said Peggy Hicks, global advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. "This is a poor way to launch a new institution."
- "The United States should reject any request by Israel to transfer cluster munitions for use against targets in Lebanon, Human Rights Watch wrote in a letter to National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley today"
- "Harm to civilians is inevitable if Israel uses M26 rockets in Lebanon," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch….Washington has a duty not to assist in replicating that death toll in southern Lebanon."
- "Massive amounts of unexploded ordnance (UXO) resulting from 33 days of heavy fighting in Lebanon threaten civilian life and limb… Urgent efforts must be made to secure, mark and monitor contaminated areas, and to facilitate plans to clear them as soon as possible."
- Israel clearly had a right to respond to Hezbollah rockets coming from the grove, but should have used weaponry that did not predictably pose a long-term risk to civilians…Israel should also provide technical, financial, material and other assistance to facilitate the marking and clearance of cluster duds and other explosive remnants of war.
- "Blaming Hizbullah is simply not an honest explanation for why so many Lebanese civilians died…Hizbullah certainly should not be let off the hook. Human Rights Watch has conducted detailed investigations of the militia’s obvious war crimes…But giving warning, as required by international humanitarian law, does not relieve the attacker of the duty to distinguish between civilians and combatants and to target only combatants."
- Regarding HRW’s Report "Fatal Strikes: Israel’s Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon" – "Is it possible that some of the witnesses lied? Sure it is. It’s even possible, though it’s something of a stretch, that many of the witnesses deliberately misled Human Rights Watch researchers… But it simply will not do to "rebut" a detailed report such as the group produced by accusing Human Rights Watch or its executive director, whose father fled Nazi Germany, of anti-Semitism (or other bad motives) and let it go at that…. Generally they merely assert the undisputed fact that Hezbollah did often hide among civilians."
ICAHD (funded by EU)
- "We recognize Israel’s ever-repressive Occupation as the main source of conflict and instability in our region…Had Israel taken the many opportunities it had to secure a just peace, the peoples of the region would never have reached this point of despair and futile violence."
- "Israel seeks to break the will of the Palestinian people and destroy any resistance to the imposition of an apartheid regime."
- "Hezbollah and Israel share equally in the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians in both Lebanon and Israel."
International Commission of Jurists (Geneva)
- ICJ called on the UN "to take immediate action to protect the civilian population in Lebanon, as well as in the Gaza Strip" but did not call for similar protection for Israeli civilians.
- ICJ is "appalled by the impact of the ruthless military operations."
- "Israel has a legitimate right to defend itself against hostage-taking and the launching of rockets by the Hezbollah over Israeli territory", but qualified this by claiming that Israel’s response constitutes "collective punishment."
- "[T]he bombing of undefended towns, villages and dwellings that are not military objectives…constitute war crimes" distorting current events and international law for ICJ’s political agenda.
- "Civilians in both Israel and Lebanon have paid the tragic price of this conflict. While a ceasefire is imperative, civilians cannot wait for diplomats in New York to agree the text of a resolution.
- The legitimate right of Israel to defend itself against the launching of rockets by Hezbollah over Israeli territory and the holding of soldiers as hostages cannot justify in international law an excessive or disproportionate response by the Israeli military.
- Similarly, the response of Israel cannot justify Hezbollah directly or indiscriminately firing at civilians in Israel or holding soldiers as hostages.
International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH), France-based NGO with a budget of over €3m in 2004
- Acknowledges that it was the Hezbollah attack which initiated the crisis and "severely condemns the rocket firing by Hezbollah against Israeli civilian population."
- "The FIDH considers that the attacks carried out by the Israeli forces … are disproportionate and constitute a collective punishment " FIDH does not define a "proportional" response.
- "The FIDH calls upon the Israeli government to urgently put an end to the military operations carried out in Lebanon." Despite condemning Hezbollah rocket fire, FIDH denies Israel’s right to take effective military action to defend itself.
- FIDH "determinedly denounces the unrelenting Israeli military attacks on Lebanon over the past eight days. In addition, the FIDH firmly condemns Hezbollah’s firing of rockets against the Israeli civilian population and the use by its militias of arms prohibited under international humanitarian law. Both sides…are evidently targeting civilians."
- The Israeli Army has perpetrated several types of attacks,…[which ] are to be considered, at the very least, as war crimes."
- "As the argument goes, these aggressions against Israeli cities also amount to war crimes…We are aware of the despicable game played by Syria and Iran, both countries in which their own people live under intolerable regimes, yet which first condemn the wrongs of others."
- "Today, in Lebanon and Gaza, the actions of the Israeli government have led it to attack the civil population indiscriminately, and in a large-scale manner."
- "Nothing can justify the losses inflicted on the civil populations, which are not collateral effects of legitimate actions of war but are instead a deliberate and wilful punishment on the collective population, including murder. These are war crimes of exceptional gravity, knowingly organized by a democratic government."
- "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."
- ‘Our organizations estimate imperative an international inquiry commission examines the facts and determines the incurred responsibilities"
- "Beyond the evident solidarity, it is a duty towards Lebanese people who endured for a month the violations of its most elementary rights."
- "The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Euro-Mediterranean Non-Governmental Platform (EMNGP), and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) launch today the report of an international solidarity mission conducted in Lebanon from 11 to 15 August 2006."
- "The delegation considers that there are sufficient elements to conclude 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. Moreover, "the action of the Israeli army against the civilian population is indicative of a will to issue collective punishment."
- "While the hostilities continue, we must ask that our government firmly and fully communicate the necessity that all parties–Lebanese, Israeli and Palestinian–protect civilians and respect international law."
- MSF has around 30 international staff working in areas in Lebanon that are severely affected by the conflict. The emphasis in MSF’s activities is on supporting Lebanese health workers, setting up additional health posts and mobile clinics where necessary, and distributing basic materials (shelter, hygiene kits, cooking utensils, baby powder milk) to displaced families.
- Access to the south of Lebanon remains difficult because shelling and bombardments have destroyed roads and buildings. MSF sent three vans carrying drugs from Beirut to Tyre on July 26. An MSF surgeon and medical team are working in the town. More medical and surgical equipment is needed, as well as food.
- MSF sent 80 tonnes of relief goods such as tents, blankets and cooking equipment to Beirut by ferry and started to distribute them in Aley and Beit Ed Dine districts on July 26.
- Increasing violence is making it extremely difficult for MSF to reach people in large areas of Lebanon, especially in the south and the eastern Bekaa valley.
- Drugs for chronically ill have also been distributed in ten villages around Sour. MSF teams have distributed hygiene kits and other supplies to 3,000 displaced people in and around Sour. Baby milk formula and diapers have also been provided for 1,000 babies.
MIFTAH, Palestinian political NGO funded by the EU and the Ford Foundation
- IDF is "targeting Lebanese civilian populations." "[I]n retaliation, Hezbollah has fired dozens of Katusha rockets into northern Israel," distorting the history that Hezbollah has been firing rockets at northern Israel since July 12.
- IDF operation described as "relentless brutality against innocent civilians in both Lebanon and Palestine."
- "[T]he underlying cause of today’s crisis in Lebanon is a premeditated Israeli plan to reshuffle the strategic regional equation in its favour."
- "We urge you to hold Israel responsible for its brutality against the people of Lebanon, for its excessive use of force against civilians, for its continued violation of the most basic and fundamental principles of international and humanitarian law"
- "(MIFTAH) strongly condemns the killing of 67 Lebanese civilians in an Israeli air raid on the South Lebanon village of Qana." (Fatalities from the Qana incident currently stands at 28)
- "The clear targeting of a building housing civilians, mostly children, seeking shelter from the incessant Israeli bombings is an abhorrent act that must…urge…international pressure to hold Israel responsible for its war crimes being perpetrated in Lebanon and in the Palestinian territories, particularly the Gaza Strip."
- "In both southern Lebanon and in the Gaza Strip, this policy has been brutally exemplified, Israel’s expansionist and destructive policies leaving a blood-stained trail across both countries."
- "But as has become a kind of sordid ritual of the Israeli army, the bomb was dropped at one in the morning while the babies slept, their mothers and fathers huddled around them."
- "The bomb on Qana or the 31 children killed in the [Gaza] Strip in one month are not incidental casualties. Rather, they are part of a systematic policy carried out by the Israeli military establishment, approved by the highest political echelons, aimed at squashing, silencing and obliterating any voice of rebellion, anyone who dares stand up to the beast."
- "It is clear by its bombing in Qana and in the Gaza Strip that Israel feels no obligation to stop its targeting of civilians on its own."
- "Tragically lost in the middle [of a dichotomized Middle East] are quasi semi-states, such as Lebanon and, to a greater extent, the Palestinian Authority, whose populations often pay dearly for the proxy wars of regional and global power politics, the latest of which is the ongoing Israeli genocide against Lebanon."
- "The ultimate question is whether or not Israel…will not only emerge as the sole victorious entity in the "New Middle East," but as a true global superpower with the might and will to dominate and eradicate the entire Arab World."
Norwegian Peoples Aid (NPA), international NGO funded by the Norwegian Government with a total budget of $117.158m in 2004,
- "Hezbollah launched rockets into Haifa…in retaliation for Israel’s furious bombardment of southern Beirut." Distorts fact of Hezbollah aggression.
- "As of today (30th of July), the number of civilians who were killed since the beginning of this aggression has exceeded 750 and the number of injuries has exceeded 3220. Many are still not recovered from the demolished buildings."
- "Together with our partner organisations, NPA have been handing out more than 2000 food parcels, more than 3000 mattresses and covers and 3500 hygiene kits…Among other projects are mobile medical units for displaced people, relief and emergency activities in the camps and appeals for getting medical supplies and disposables for the kidney dialysis units in the PRCS hospitals in Hamshary and Balsam."
- "[W]hile any state has the right to defend itself against armed attacks, Israel’s destruction of civilian infrastructure including bridges, roads and the airport in Beirut is unacceptable", ignoring the military necessity of preventing Hezbollah from being re-supplied with arms.
- Oxfam was a signatory to the July 21 joint NGO statement calling on UK Prime Minister Tony Blair to demand a cease-fire, see Christian Aid above.
- "The US and UK express humanitarian concern while their ‘foot dragging diplomacy’ allows the killing to continue. For the sake of commonsense and common humanity an immediate ceasefire in the region in needed," said Barbara Stocking, Oxfam’s Director.
- "Waiting for one side to achieve its military objective before calling for an immediate ceasefire is not the way forward," said Phil Bloomer, Oxfam’s Director of Campaigns and Policy.
- "Indiscriminate attacks from both sides, and for civilians there is no end in sight to the daily bloodshed and violence," said Oxfam’s Advocacy Director Bernice Romero.
- "The situation in the Middle East continues to deteriorate rapidly. Hundreds have already died and an estimated 500,000 people have had to flee their homes and have been forced to shelter in buildings with little or no help to meet their basic needs."
- "The Israeli army air raided the village of Qana and cold bloodedly bombarded a building occupied by civilians, most of whom were displaced women or children."
- "There is no bravery in air raiding civilians, destroying an entire country, displacing its residents and inciting hatred amongst its people, only a disproportionate and cruel use of force and violence."
- Oxfam called on EU Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels tomorrow to agree to an unambiguous call for an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East in the run up to this week’s expected UN Security Council resolution.
- "Oxfam dispatched its first aid flight to Lebanon … on August 7. The flight contained … US$190,000 (Â£100,000) worth of aid…"
- "We are in close contact with our Israeli partners to monitor the situation closely and see if Oxfam can be of any assistance. We plan to support and assist organizations and groups that can help people who might fall through the Israeli safety net."
- "In the UK, this week, 30,000 signatures from the public were delivered to Downing Street by Oxfam and other humanitarian agencies in an effort to urge Tony Blair to call for an immediate ceasefire."
- The heaviest toll and worst devastation has blighted the towns and villages of south Lebanon and the southern suburbs of Beirut.
- Southern Lebanese towns such as Qana, where about 50 civilians were reported killed in a single Israeli attack, and Srifa where dozens more have died, have suffered more than most. (The casualty figures for Qana were revised by the International Committee of the Red Cross to 28 dead.)
- Oxfam is tankering 1.5 million liters of vital fresh drinking water every day to war ravaged Lebanon – enough to provide the basic daily needs of 50,000 people.
- "The fact that the IDF’s actions exact a high toll both in lives and on civilian infrastructure evinces that Israel’s response is not proportional."
- "The damage to infrastructure, homes and medical establishments is considered to be a grave violation of international law and the international humanitarian law."
- "We also share the pain and fear in light of the tragic results of Hezbollah’s rocket attacks on Israel and its harmful effects on Israeli citizens. We call for a cease-fire that will also put an end to the firing of Kassam Rockets and terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians."
- "On the Lebanese front, the barbaric Israeli aggression shows the complete picture, since the goals of that aggression are embedded in the conditions and dictates that the Israeli government wants to impose on the region so that it succumbs to Israeli-American hegemony."
- "The force being used by the Israeli troops …is inhuman and savage, aiming at exterminating as many people as possible. This brings to our minds the force used by Serbia in Bosnia as well as the crimes against humanity committed in the Second World War."
- "[A]s the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon and Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israel continue, reaching those in need is an enormous humanitarian challenge."
- In both statements UNICEF refrained from making biased politicized comments about the conflict.
"An urgent petition signed by over 35,000 people and backed by 16 leading agencies, including War on Want, was handed in today to Tony Blair, pressing him to call for an immediate ceasefire in the current Middle East crisis."
- Israeli casualties mentioned, but the context of Hezbollah aggression omitted.
- "In the recent fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, more than 200 civilians have died and over 400 have been injured – approximately 30% of whom are children (Source: United Nations Children’s Fund)."
- "Both Israel and Lebanon are signatories to the Convention on the Rights of the Child that states they have an obligation under international humanitarian law to protect the civilian population in armed conflict." World Vision is the only NGO to acknowledge that the Lebanese government (which includes members of Hezbollah) has responsibilities in the conflict.
- "World Vision warns that the violence and destruction of infrastructure in Lebanon and Palestine means children there are facing potential outbreaks of disease, increased levels of malnutrition."
- "To date, the Lebanon office has assisted nearly 30,000 displaced now living in schools, churches, mosques, houses, parking garages and other structures located within seven of nine Area Development Projects (ADPs) in southern, central and northern regions of the country."
- "World Vision and four international NGOs yesterday alerted foreign press in Beirut of the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Lebanon. They called for an immediate cease-fire to allow unrestricted humanitarian access to devastated areas and displaced civilians within the war-torn country."
- "We have 121 staff in Lebanon, yet our resources are not nearly enough to respond to this crisis"…the news conference…was jointly convened by Oxfam, Christian Aid, Save the Children, Islamic Relief and World Vision."
- "The international community must surely understand that all children are equal and that they are not responsible for this conflict. We therefore are insisting that the rights of the children of Lebanon be respected and protected."
- World Vision grieves for all victims of the ongoing crisis in the Middle East, be they Lebanese, Israeli or Palestinian. We are especially concerned about how the conflict is taking a toll on innocent civilians on all sides.
- World Vision today is unloading its part, which will bring US$300,000 of relief supplies to some 45,000 people affected by the current conflict in the affected areas of Beirut and southern Lebanon.
- Some 30,000 people have already been assisted by World Vision Lebanon. Distributions of food items, medicines, medical supplies and hygiene products to displaced people in 4 main areas have been conducted.
- Unexploded ordnance (UXO) scattered through many areas of war-devastated southern Lebanon now constitutes the gravest threat to returning civilians
- World Vision is funding the printing and distribution of some 100,000 posters and leaflets, along with teacher training kits, children’s games and books, as well as television spots to educate Lebanese children and their families about the dangers of UXOs.