As in HRWs other statements on Gaza, this report reflects a manipulation of "evidence" and lack of professionalism to support pre-determined political and ideological positions. The charges of "war crimes" are unjustified, based on dubious interpretations of international law, and reflect HRWs role in the wider Durban strategy of demonization. The lack of credibility results from reliance on unreliable and tampered evidence; false and inaccurate claims; and internal contradictions. The authors include a pro-Palestinian activist who has worked at the highly politicized PCHR.
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.
In the first 16 days of fighting HRW released 11 statements on Gaza, primarily critical of Israel, including many using the rhetoric of international law for political objectives. Sarah Leah Whitson has carried HRWs campaign to the UN -- and similar to allegations made during the 2006 Lebanon war, HRWs claims about the IDFs use of white phosphorus lack credible evidence.