Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Amnesty's Disproportionate Response

Do these "human rights" organisations do anything else but scrutinise Israel's actions and then write false reports about it? If they do, I haven't heard about it. Israel must actually be the most evil country in the world, going by those reports.

The latest says that Israel is denying the Palestinians water. Are any other people in the world denied water? Can't be, if they were, I'm sure it would have been widely publicised, wouldn't it?

Amnesty has released over 20 reports condemning Israel, since Cast Lead. Has it released this many about any other country? I doubt it. Are more Palestinians dying than any other people? Not even close. This disproportionate attention suggests Amnesty has an agenda...

Amnesty has accused Israel of only supplying between 20 and 70 litres per day to the Palestinians, but the Water Authority said that they actually receive 200 litres per day.
"The Foreign Ministry also refuted the report on Tuesday, stating that according to the existing water agreement, the Palestinians are allocated 23.6 million cubic meters of water per year, but 'in actual effect, they have access to twice as much water.'

In its statement, the Foreign Ministry said that Israel has 'extensively surpassed the obligatory quantity' of water supplied to the Palestinians, while the Palestinians have 'significantly violated their commitments under the water agreement' by neglecting the construction of sewage treatment plants despite 'foreign funding earmarked for this purpose,' as well as drilling over 250 unauthorized wells...

The Water Authority also stressed that it routinely provided the PA with more water per year than the amounts stipulated in the Oslo Accords. It also said Palestinians routinely dug illegal wells and refused to purify and reuse their sewage for agriculture. Instead, they dumped their sewage into the streams in the West Bank, causing massive pollution.

NGO Monitor's president, Prof. Gerald Steinberg, said... 'the report adopts a painfully simplistic narrative which places blame solely on Israel, to the extent that the Palestinian leadership is absolved of responsibility for the agreements signed
under the Oslo framework.'"

Robin Shepherd highlights Amnesty's anti-Israel stance as by promoting Ben White's book 'Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide', they endorse the notion of Israel as an apartheid state, and so "it should come as no surprise that the report adopts the Palestinian narrative of the wider conflict in its entirety." Amnesty did not even consult the Israeli Water Authority (so how could they have carried out their research properly?)

Shepherd points out "how Amnesty effortlessly and unashamedly apportions blame to the 'more than 40 years of occupation'", automatically taking the Palestinian point of view. He sums up the other side of the story that was not included in the report:
“There have been more than 60 years of rejectionism and terrorism by Palestinian and Arab leaders. This has had the derivative effects of both reducing their capacity to consume water at first world levels and of depriving them of the kind of statehood (offered on several occasions by Israel) which would allow them to take greater control of their own water resources in particular and their economic development in general."
Shepherd observes that the fact that Amnesty consciously
"adopted hook, line and sinker one of of the two available narratives and simply erased the other from consideration... is not a sign of an organisation whose main priority is to promote an unbiased appraisal of an undoubtedly important humanitarian problem. It is a sign of an organisation whose underlying agenda is avowedly political and avowedly anti-Israeli."

Monday, 26 October 2009

Today's Journalism Scores: Times - 1, Guardian - 0

As everyone is aware, there have been clashes at the Temple Mount between Israeli police and Palestinians looking for trouble. The Times report mentions that "The police action... came after local Muslim leaders claimed that Jews were attempting to conquer the mosque and claim it as their own." It includes a quote from a Palestinian:
"A 22-year-old, who gave his name as Amar, said he had been detained last week for hurling stones at a passing Israeli patrol, but had returned again yesterday. 'They start this. They incite this, and then we respond and they make it look like we are the bad guys... We are protecting something very important to us, and they know that this is important, and that’s why they try to make us angry by sending their settlers there'."
and from an Israeli police officer:
“These are kids that have been whipped into a frenzy by something they believe is happening here. This is all unnecessary, and at the end of the day serves no one.”
It explains why this all started:
"Local Arabic radio stations began broadcasting at the weekend that Jews were planning to enter the site to pray, or dig under the compound and harm buildings there, prompting calls for Muslims to go and defend the site."
and gives Israel's response to the accusations:
"Israeli officials said that they had carried out archaeological excavations in the area, but that the work did not threaten existing structures. Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, said the accusations against Israel were lies."
It even gives a bit of historical background as to why the Temple Mount is holy to Muslims and Jews, as well as stating "It is only open for Muslims to pray, though there are several hours each day that tourists, including Jews [if they can take the stoning and won't dare to pray there], can visit.", and quoting the head of the Jewish Temple Mount Institute saying "I will be tolerant to Muslim prayer on Temple Mount, but in this democratic country everyone has the right to pray in the holiest site in the world". The Guardian, meanwhile, paints this picture:
"Israeli forces stormed up into the compound behind riot shields and crowds of Palestinians fled, some taking sanctuary in the al-Aqsa mosque." "Palestinians have been increasingly concerned about right-wing Jewish settlers entering the compound and about rumours - denied by Israel - of excavations near the site."
That second quote was only added much later today, and doesn't really get across the fact the concern wasn't about "Jewish settlers entering the compound", but the rumour that they were going to "conquer" it, or that Musilms leaders on Arab radio encouraged Palestinians to riot at the mosque to defend it. One more detail was missed out by both newspapers, that the original "storming" of the compound by the Israeli police only happened when Palestinians began throwing rocks at the regular patrol that were already there. Still, the Times wins that round.

Does Anyone Really Care About The Palestinians?

It sometimes seems as though people don't really care about the Palestinians, unless there's a way to demonise Israel. For example, on the very rare occasions that Hamas is criticised, it is for their rocket attacks against Israel, but not for using their own people as human shields. Recently though, the Independent reported on something we don't hear about very often: the suffering of Palestinian refugees in other Arab countries. On the other hand, there was an article by the Daily Mail on Sunday that got quite a strange response. The article stated that:
"The Government is sending British police and intelligence officers to the West Bank to try to stop a wave of brutal torture by Palestinian security forces funded by UK taxpayers. Their mission is to set up and train a new ‘internal affairs’ department with sweeping powers to investigate abuse and bring torturers to justice."
An official from the Palestinian Authority admitted "that torture, beatings and extra-judicial killings have been rife for the past two years, with hundreds of torture allegations and at least four murders in custody" Head of the PA's human rights department said they want to "instill respect for human rights as part of the security forces’ daily behaviour and to teach them how to treat prisoners properly". Victims, most of whom were arrested for involvement with Hamas, told of their experiences of "torture, including beatings, being suspended from the ceiling and electric shocks". Now I think is a great idea. Anyone who really follows what goes on in Gaza and the West Bank knows that many Fatah and Hamas officials just have no idea how to treat their fellow human beings, let alone their brothers. They need help. We go on about Israel and human rights, but no one really talks about the way the Palestinians treat each other. These are the heartfelt comments below the article:
"If the Palestinians need help & expertise, then they should be paying us" "We're still in recession, and yet our government is behaving like the saviours of humanity spending our money on something which let's face it isn't even going to benefit anyone." "Stop wasting our money - it's none of our business!" "sort your own problems out first before sticking your nose in elsewhere." "Brown and co are sticking their noses in again where they have no right" "why cannt [sic] we concentrate on putting our own house in order?"
If Israel had been accused of torture and beatings and suspending Palestinians from the ceilings and giving them electric shocks, the world would be in uproar. (Kind of how it is now with the very exaggerated and misleading Goldstone report). As it is, it's only the Palestinians who are the accused now, and so the Palestinians and their well-being isn't our business anymore, and we shouldn't waste our money in trying to get them to stop torturing each other. Perhaps the money would be better spent on Gaza where Hamas will steal it and use it for their own purposes such as making and smuggling weapons.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Checkpoint Humiliation

A 21 year old Palestinian woman was humiliated when she was arrested at a checkpoint North of Jerusalem on Sunday. Because she stabbed an Israeli security guard in the stomach. He was moderately injured. Refuah shelema.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

More Goldstone Controversy

First of all... a pro-Israel article on the Guardian! It's by Harold Evans, ex-Sunday Times editor, arguing against Goldstone, but the Guardian readers are, as expected, incensed that someone would dare to call Hamas the aggressor and Israel the defender, to refer to Israel's withdrawal from Gaza and Hamas screwing up their opportunity to make a state for their people, to mention the thousands of rockets Hamas have fired, each with the intention to murder innocent civilians, that the rockets were not universally condemned as they should have been, asking why Israel was accused of disproportionate force yet no one wondered "What is a 'proportionate' attack against an enemy dedicated to exterminating your people?", that the IDF showed great restraint and as Colonel Richard Kemp said, "did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare", that Hamas used it's people as human shields, and that Goldstone has equated killer and victim, Hamas and Israel. (In fact the report is worse than that because it excuses Hamas from terror and condemns Israel for defence.) So what is the Guardian readers' response to the truth in every statement above? CifWatch braved the comment pages to weed out the poison and antisemitism. Take a deep breath and read it. Of course for every pro-Israel article on Cif, there are many, many, many, anti-Israel ones. Simply too many for me to dissect. And they're all the same anyway. Same false accusations of deliberately targetting civilians etc etc. The more recent anti-Israel articles are of course all in support of Goldstone, including one by Goldstone himself (originally in the Jerusalem Post). In response to Goldstone's defence of his report, once again I give you: CAMERA's list of falsehoods in the report, the website on the the report, Elder of Ziyon on the IDF's report, and on inaccuracies in the Goldstone report with other commentaries as well, aaaannd.... Elder of Ziyon and Ynet's discovery (because clearly no one that voted on it actually bothered to read it) that the Goldstone report in fact does not condemn Hamas.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

HRW Founder Calls It Anti-Israel

Robert Bernstein, founder of Human Rights Watch has finally come out and written an excellent article criticising it of anti-Israel bias.
"The region [Middle East] is populated by authoritarian regimes with appalling human rights records. Yet in recent years Human Rights Watch has written far more condemnations of Israel for violations of international law than of any other country in the region."
He compares Israel's 7.4 million citizens, their 80 human rights organisations, free press and democracy to the Arab nations' 350 million people, many of whom are ruled under brutal regimes.

"The plight of their citizens who would most benefit from the kind of attention a large and well-financed international human rights organization can provide is being ignored as Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division prepares report after report on Israel." "Human Rights Watch has lost critical perspective on a conflict in which Israel has been repeatedly attacked by Hamas and Hezbollah, organizations that go after Israeli citizens and use their own people as human shields. These groups are supported by the government of Iran, which has openly declared its intention not just to destroy Israel but to murder Jews everywhere. This incitement to genocide is a violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide."

"Leaders of Human Rights Watch know that Hamas and Hezbollah chose to wage war from densely populated areas, deliberately transforming neighborhoods into battlefields. They know that more and better arms are flowing into both Gaza and Lebanon and are poised to strike again. And they know that this militancy continues to deprive Palestinians of any chance for the peaceful and productive life they deserve. Yet Israel, the repeated victim of aggression, faces the brunt of Human Rights Watch’s criticism."
Just like with the Goldstone report. The Times reports on Bernstein's article as well, but they just miss out the most important point, that:
"Human Rights Watch has written far more condemnations of Israel for violations of international law than of any other country in the region"
Instead they quote HRW as saying that "its scrutiny on Israel represents only 'a tiny fraction' of its work." If Israel is a "tiny fraction" of their work, what are the bigger "fractions" on? Iran? I don't think I ever heard HRW say anything about them. And guess how they illustrated the article... that's right, phosphorous! (again)

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Conflicting Messages From The Times

In it's editorial on Friday, the Times called the Goldstone report biased and stated that it should be rejected at the United Nations "Human Rights" Council. The Times highlights the problems with the report:
"First, there is no equivalence between the actions of Israel in self-defence and those of Hamas in seeking to destroy it. Second, the UNHRC is not a credible forum. It is... notorious for bloc voting and bias against Israel. And finally, the Goldstone report itself is imbalanced: it focuses on Israel’s faults rather than its right to protect itself."
It's much more than that, but at least the Times is trying to stand up for Israel's rights. But then, perhaps in an attempt to appear objective, the article states that Israel caused "more than a thousand Palestinian civilian deaths", which is simply not true. Of the 1200 killed in Gaza, about 700 have been proven to be terrorists.
"But Israel was responding to a sustained barrage of rocket attacks by Hamas after its takeover of power in Gaza. It had no choice but to respond to these provocations. Hamas, backed and supplied by Iran, has rejected all attempts to persuade it to recognise Israel, instead relentlessly pursuing the destruction of the Jewish state in the interests of an intolerant and delusional pan-Islamic ideology. Unlike Israel, it consistently engages in the cowardly practice of using civilians as human shields."

"Judge Goldstone takes Hamas to task for killing Israeli civilians and 'seeking to spread terror' through rocket attacks on southern Israel. But he reserves his strongest language for Israel’s 'disproportionate' use of force and its 'deliberate targeting' of Palestinian civilians."

"Israel adheres to standards higher than those of its enemies. Its right to self-defence is not in question: what is at issue is how it exercises that right, and whether it does so in conformity with its own moral values. In launching an inquiry, it would challenge Hamas to do the same."
But the last paragraph ignores the fact that Israel has conducted it's own investigation, proven how many terrorists were killed, that Hamas used human shields, hid themselves and weapons in populated areas, in mosques, schools, hospitals and ambulances.

Putting that aside, the article is, as usual, too little too late. Where was all that during the war? When did the Times report on the rocket attacks, or Hamas' use of human shields, their refusal to recognise Israel and objective to wipe out the Jewish state, or Israel's right to self defence?

Then, the next day, in their article on Britain abstaining from the vote, what is the accompanying picture of? Hamas terrorists? The damage caused by their rockets? Course not, it's only phosphorous. Otherwise you might think Israel are the victims in some way.

Meanwhile it's worth reading Colonel Richard Kemp's statement on the IDF, where he explains how "The IDF did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare".

Also, Goldstone was "saddened" that the resolution made no reference to Hamas' crimes. His exact words were: "There is not a single phrase condemning Hamas as we have done in the report". Well it was probably a bit difficult to find that "single phrase" in the 600 pages about Israel!

Speaking of which, another rocket was fired into Israel today, thankfully with no damage. The psychological effects of that alarm on the million Israelis in the South having to run into shelters, and the terrorists' prayer for an Israeli death as the rocket was launched, are never newsworthy though.

Finally, here is CAMERA's list of falsehoods in the Goldstone report, the website on the the report I linked in my last post, Elder of Ziyon on the IDF's report, and on inaccuracies in the Goldstone report with other commentaries as well. The UN is a joke. But we knew that already.

Monday, 12 October 2009

The Guardian Just Gets Worse And Worse

First, they give the Left's beloved terrorist-sympathiser George Galloway a column in which he goes on about poor old Iran being bullied about its nuclear weapons, and calls it a 'sophisticated state'.

Chas Newkey-Burden asks,
"In what sense is Iran “a sophisticated state”, George? In the sense that it rigs elections and then persecutes and murders peaceful protestors? In the sense that it hangs women in public squares after perfunctorily finding them guilty of adultery? The way it does the same with men because they are gay? Or maybe Iran’s sophistication is seen in how its legal system executes children and cuts the hands and feet off offenders. Perhaps it is the non-free press that so proves its sophistication, or the imprisoned bloggers? Or the large parts of the country where people wallow in darkness and squalor due to its messed-up energy and economic policies?"
Then the Guardian ignore a letter spelling out their anti-Israel bias because they hope if they ignore it it'll go away. Read the letter here on CifWatch, it's amazing.

Then they mysteriously, "accidentally"
omit all the names of the Israeli Nobel Peace Prize Winners from a list of all winners, ever.

And on top of that, in their
editorial about Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize (I cannot believe I just said those words), the Guardian made a reference to "Israeli-occupied Gaza", only later remembering that in fact Israel disengaged from Gaza several years ago, and replacing 'occupied' with 'blockaded'.

In other news, an
excellent website has been set up by a number of bloggers, which discredits the insanely inaccurate Goldstone report on Cast Lead.