There is a growing debate over Palestinian casualty claims. While the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) and the Palestinian Ministry of Health have announced that the majority of fatalities were civilians, the IDF has estimated that more than two-thirds of [the deaths] were Hamas members. PCHRs anti-Israel campaigning during war includes accusations of Israeli war crimes, crimes against humanity, human holocaust, collective punishment, indiscriminate killing and continued systematic destruction of all the Palestinian institutions and civilian facilities in the Gaza Strip.
Since December 27, 2008, Amnesty International and its worldwide branches have released numerous statements on Gaza. These are primarily critical of Israel and use the rhetoric of international humanitarian law in a consistently biased manner. Amnesty accuses Israel of "unlawful," "disproportionate," and "indiscriminate" attacks against Palestinian civilians. Amnesty largely ignores the well-documented commandeering of civilian infrastructure and widespread use of human shields by Hamas. These accusations are similar to Amnestys false claims against Israel made during the Second Lebanon War.
The exploitation of international legal rhetoric is a major weapon in the political war to delegitmize Israeli anti-terror operations. During the Gaza conflict, NGOs have selectively charged Israel with "violations of law," "crimes against humanity," "war crimes," "disproportionate force" and "indiscriminate attacks." Many NGOs are already calling for international "investigations" and "lawfare" based on these accusations, in order to harass Israeli officials and promote a negative media image of Israel. At the same time, the violation of Gilad Shalits human rights and Hamas use of human shields are ignored.
On January 10, HRW launched a public relations campaign condemning Israel for allegedly using white phosphorus weapons unlawfully in the conflict with Hamas. HRWs large budget, and its media access via the "halo effect" results in the amplification of these reports in the press and through other NGOs, without independent investigation or verification. HRWs disproportionate focus on this issue diverts attention from Hamas systematic use of human shields, its indiscriminate rocket attacks, and Irans role in fomenting the conflict.