VOICE OF THE JEWISH NEWS: Amnesty’s missed opportunity

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VOICE OF THE JEWISH NEWS: Amnesty’s missed opportunity

Voice of the Jewish News
Voice of the Jewish News

Voice-of-the-JN1-e1411560606212Israel is investigating whether its soldiers were guilty of war crimes at any point in the Gaza conflict.

This is welcome, but hardly bulletproof, as anyone familiar with the concept of fair investigations will tell you. A suspect investigating – and ruling on – its own guilt or innocence is a suspect in a reasonably good position.

Israel maintains its conduct throughout the 50-days of fighting stands up to the heaviest scrutiny, so independent investigators who can help prove that are welcome. Anyone who considers themselves a friend to the Jewish state will wish to see a transparent and independent process.

With UN investigators dismissed as being on the side of terrorists, it falls to large, well-resourced human rights organisations like Amnesty International to do so. As such, its report on IDF operations, released this week, should have been a valuable addition to the debate.

That it was anything but is distressing. Two things explain why the report lost credibility almost instantly. It was posted by a senior Amnesty manager who also appeared to comapre Israel to Islamic State, the group currently beheading anyone they don’t like in Iraq and Syria. To say this shows a lack of objectivity is an understatement.

The second reason is that it makes only cursory mention of Palestinian terror tactics during the war. The report goes to great lengths to highlight how Israel bombed houses with families in them, but skates over the Hamas tactic of hiding behind such families. How wilfully one-eyed can it be?

The Jewish community is hugely supportive of Israel, but that shouldn’t mean it doesn’t seek welcome credible investigation. That this report now seems anything but is a missed opportunity, on which Amnesty would do well reflect.

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