International and local NGOs — including Amnesty, Gisha, Oxfam, Christian Aid, and PCHR – continue to issue press releases condemning Israel for its policies in response to Palestinian terrorism emanating from Gaza.
- On November 14, 2008, Amnesty, which has regularly condemned Israel since the Gaza closure began, accused Israel of “collective punishment on Gaza´s civilian population,” while ignoring the digging of tunnels by Palestinian terrorists as a factor in the breakdown (November 5, 2008) of the Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire in Gaza.
- Gisha (November 16 and19, 2008) referred to Israel´s “punishment policy” and “deliberately targeting” civilians, and barely mentions Palestinian rocket attacks. In its statements, Gisha equates Palestinian terrorism and Israel´s military responses, and describes terrorists as “militants.”
- Similarly, Christian Aid´s press release “Food and medicine must not be used a weapons” (November 20, 2008) repeated the “collective punishment” mantra and presented a one-sided, simplistic picture. Christian Aid quoted from a partner organization claiming that Gaza´s citizens “want to live freely with Israel and other countries in peace” without noting Hamas´ campaign of violence directed against Israeli civilians and the ongoing attacks from Gaza.
- Human Rights Watch (HRW) equated Israel to Hamas in “letters” to Prime Minister Olmert and the Hamas leadership in Gaza and Syria on November 20, 2008. The letter to Olmert is a lengthy summary of HRW´s position: It condemns Israel´s blockade and “collective punishment” of Gaza, repeats the groundless accusation of continued “occupation” in order to justify its claims, and ignores security considerations in its discussion of electricity shortages and movement restrictions. The “facts” presented in the letter largely mimic those contained in a similar report issued by Palestinian Center for Human Rights, a group that regularly refers to terrorists as members of the “Palestinian resistance“. While HRW´s letter to Hamas does acknowledge the leadership´s responsibility for “deliberate and indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians,” the letter also demands that Hamas “speak out forcefully against [and]…prevent unlawful attacks, and bring to justice [the perpetrators]” even though HRW admits that Hamas officials conduct and have “endorse[d] individual attacks.”