Overview of a Human Rights Council special session at the United Nations in Geneva. (photo credit:REUTERS)


NGO Monitor late Tuesday published a report to “fill in the gaps in the UN’s investigation of the Gaza conflict,” in a preemptive strike on the UN Human Rights Council report on the 2014 war, due to come out in the coming weeks.

One of the hallmarks of the report is also heavy criticism of NGOs that have filed reports and statements alleging the IDF committed war crimes during the war.

Many of those reports have focused on the over 2,100 Palestinian casualties from the war and issues such as IDF air strikes on residences and use of artillery in dense urban areas.

The report’s introduction speaks of “the need for investigations that are conducted independent of the United Nations infrastructure,” due to “defects” in past UN reports.

Nevertheless, the report expresses some hope that with Judge Mary McGowan-Davis replacing William Schabas in February as head of the UNHRC commission’s investigation and her calling “more witnesses” and consulting “a wider variety of source material,” the report may be more fair-minded.

NGO Monitor hits the NGOs hard, saying they fail to follow objective standards; lack real military experts to analyze issues such as identifying munitions used in certain attacks; improperly apply the law of armed conflict; and fail to approach Gazans’ testimony, while still under Hamas’s rule, with skepticism.

It accuses B’tselem and other NGOs of accepting the declarations of Gazan officials under Hamas’s control about who was a civilian and who was a combatant.

NGO Monitor says NGOs did this while ignoring proof by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center – using YouTube, social media outlets and other sources – that many persons listed as civilians were combatants.

After giving an exhaustive history of events leading up to the war, the report gives concrete examples where it says NGOs criticizing Israel made the above errors.

The report recounts that on August 23, 2014, the IDF targeted a weapons cache in Gaza.

It says that “due to an apparent malfunction in the guidance system, the launched bomb struck 100 meters from the intended target and instead hit the home of Hayel Abu Dahrouj.

Abu Dahrouj, a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, was killed along with four other members of the family.”

NGO Monitor notes that though the strike on the Abu Dahrouj house was a mistake and the intended target was a weapons cache nearby, which was later hit by a second strike, an NGO accused Israel of deliberately targeting the home.

Further, the report says the NGO failed to mention that Hayel abu Dahrouj was a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

It says that “highlighting the lack of NGO expertise and intelligence regarding military operations, Amnesty [International] claimed that the target was Abu Dahrouj himself and complained that ‘there are important questions about why no warning was given, as was apparently done before the 16 July attack, and why the Israeli military did not choose a time and means of targeting him that was less likely to kill civilians.’” The report concludes by dismissing Amnesty’s analysis since “Abu Dahrouj was not the intended target, and Amnesty does not contemplate the possibility that the attack was a mistake.”

NGO Monitor says “Hamas blamed Israel for a strike on a park near the Al-Shati refugee camp that killed many Palestinians. Many NGOs and journalists reported the Hamas narrative without question, even though the IDF provided documentation that the attack was caused by a misfired [Hamas] rocket.”

The report notes that an Italian journalist in Gaza kept silent until leaving Gaza, and then confirmed the IDF account that the Palestinian casualties were caused by a Hamas misfire.

These accounts contradict this specific Hamas narrative and draw into question other narratives of civilian deaths provided by Palestinian groups, according to NGO Monitor.

Amnesty International responded to the report stating, “NGO Monitor is well known as an organization which works to oppose scrutiny of human rights violations by the Israeli authorities. It regularly criticizes Amnesty International and other human rights organizations’ reports that document the actions of the Israeli authorities and military.”

It continued, “Amnesty International prefers to engage with the Israeli authorities directly rather than with NGO Monitor and its claims.”

Human Rights Watch responded that it “stands behind its reports on violations by Israel and Hamas, which are based on detailed field investigations. As in all conflicts, we document the facts and don’t take sides.”

B’tselem declined to respond.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post