The Winograd Commission (officially “הוועדה לבדיקה ארועי המערכה בלבנון 2006”) was appointed by the Israeli government to investigate and draw lessons from the 2006 Second Lebanon War. It is chaired by retired judge Eliyahu Winograd, and its members include Law Professor Ruth Gavison, Political Science Professor Yehezkel Dror, and IDF Reserve Generals Menachem Einan and Chaim Nadel.
The Commission has been reviewing evidence since September 18, 2006, on April 30, 2007 it released its preliminary findings and its final report is expected in early 2008. Among other issues, it is expected to consider the question of whether Israel committed human rights violations during the conflict.
NGO Monitor’s submission to the Commission analyses the reporting of human rights NGOs during the 2006 Lebanon War, and discusses these groups’ exploitation of human rights rhetoric and international law to promote a politicized anti-Israel agenda. Major NGOs claiming to promote human rights, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW), published numerous reports primarily condemning Israeli military actions in the war. The claims were often based on “evidence” provided by Lebanese eyewitnesses, whose credibility and links to Hezbollah were not investigated; and they declared that Israel had violated human rights using double standards and selective or misleading claims. Accompanied by strong public relations campaigns, NGO claims were repeated by the media and politicians, with little critical scrutiny.
In this submission, NGO Monitor presents extensive evidence of NGO distortions in the 2006 Lebanon War and suggests that the Committee:
- Independently verify all NGO claims before considering them as evidence of human rights violations.
- Recommend a “right of reply” condition for all government or IDF cooperation with NGOs.
- Recommend that relevant government agencies, including the IDF, should be instructed to create and operate the mechanisms necessary to investigate and respond immediately to such allegations of violations related to human rights norms and international law.