The efforts of Amnesty International are undeniably significant in monitoring the developments in Palestine and other regions of the world. Nonetheless, Amnesty’s latest report on the events of summer 2014 in Gaza Strip does not reflect the context in which Gazans live, nor does it show impartial documenting.
The report argues that the Palestinian armed factions committed war crimes from two perspectives. The first is that it launched rockets randomly against Israeli civilians, and the second is that it launched a rocket that accidently hit Al-Shati’ refugee camp in the Strip, which led to the death of 13 Palestinian children, as quoted by an independent munitions expert. The report concludes that the acts of the Palestinian armed factions “demonstrate what is, at best, a reckless disregard for the lives of civilians in Israel, as well as a consistent failure to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians in Gaza from the effects of attacks”; and calls for urgently suspending all transfers of arms, munitions, weapons and military equipment to Israel and Palestinian armed groups.
The question raised by the report’s conclusions is; what are the other alternatives for the Gaza Strip under the heavy and indiscriminate Israeli shelling and bombardments? The arguments used are true, but they fail to accurately reflect the broader context and to document the wider scenario. This is especially the case as it fails to differentiate between the occupation and the occupied and calls for suspending arms flow to both. In this report, they did not admit that the Israeli arms industry is a leading world exporter of military supplies and advanced military technologies, and also in fact, the Gaza Strip does not include even a port that does export or import any item.
The organisation’s report does not point out to the notable improvement in the performance of the Palestinian resistance, where the majority of the causalities by the resistance rockets were soldiers (63 Israeli soldier according to the Israeli official reports), in contrast to the 2,400 civilian Palestinians killed by the Israeli army during the same events. AI’s report refuses to note this fact, thus leaving an inaccurate impression on what the situation on the ground actually looks like.
The report also addresses the need for storing arms, explosives and ammunition in areas that are distant from civilian communities, but it does not suggest where actually, especially taking into consideration that Gaza Strip is amongst the highest population densities in the world. It seems the report is impliedly urging for the disarmament of the resistance forces in Gaza Strip, in facing an inhumane and heavily armed fierce occupation; thus deeming Gazans powerless and subject to further crimes against humanity. Though, if it is possible that this interpretation of the report is a misreading, we would be grateful for further clarifications by Amnesty.
Director of Palestinian Association for Human Rights