IDF ‘does not target civilians’

YOUR paper carried an article on August 14 regarding allegations by Human Rights Watch which accused the Israeli Defence Forces of shooting 11 civilians carrying “white flags” during Operation Cast-Lead.

I would like to state clearly that the soldiers of Israel’s Defence Forces do not shoot unarmed civilians deliberately. Every soldier serving in a combat unit is fully briefed about his obligations under International Human Rights Law and about the importance of distinguishing between civilians and combatants. Obviously civilians are not to be targeted. Where any incidents of wrongdoing are alleged, the matter is fully investigated. The Israeli legal system is independent and has consistently earned international respect and recognition for its jurisprudence and independence. It has achieved some landmark rulings on balancing security with the protection of human rights, and has been cited favourably by foreign courts, such as the European Court of Justice.

Human Rights Watch‘s report relies on a very problematic methodology, which is its reliance on uncorroborated testimony from people who are not free to speak out against the Hamas regime or tell the truth about the Hamas tactic of using civilians as human shields.

Despite its declared noble intention of protecting human rights, there is unfortunately, a systematic pattern of anti-Israel bias in their reporting. Earlier this year, a Human Rights Watch report on Israel‘s use of drones in Gaza was discredited as speculation rather than fact by Jane‘s Air-Launched Weapons.

Furthermore, one must question the reliability and objectivity of Human Rights Watch, when one considers their public admission of fundraising in Saudi Arabia in May, during which they manifested their bias against Israel.

It is ironic that a human rights group would fundraise in Saudi Arabia , a country known for its harsh treatment of women, homosexuals and non-Muslims. We invite readers of your paper to read The Operation in Gaza – Factual and Legal Aspects, which can be downloaded from Israel‘s Foreign Ministry website and which documents Hamas’ exploitation of Gaza‘s civilian population as human shields. Such examples can be viewed even on Youtube.

Contrary to the tactics of Hamas, which deliberately and indiscriminately targets Israeli civilians and puts the lives of Palestinians in danger, the IDF does its utmost to avoid the loss of life of civilians in combat areas while carrying out their duty to protect the lives of their fellow citizens.

Derek O’Flynn

Press Officer

Embassy of Israel

Dublin 4

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