HRW continues its assault on Israel based on methodologies that, were they used in science, would have us still living in the Ptolemean universe (i.e., human rights revolve around the Palestinians). Fortunately, both NGO Monitor and the IDF are responding vigorously.
Begin with what HRW doesn’t want to mention: i.e., that Hamas “operatives” systematically use civilians as shields, including those who wave white flags. Here’s IDF aerial footage from January 7, 2009 showing just such an incident.
Comment: Captured in this aerial footage, a Hamas terrorist plants an IED and then climbs into a house containing uninvolved civilians. Later the civilians and the Hamas terrorist exit the house waiving a white flag, at which point IDF troops approach and arrest the terrorist.
This is just one of many examples of how Hamas uses uninvolved civilians as human shields. This example is particularly egregious since the terrorist used civilians waving a white flag to try to evade IDF soldiers.
1) It takes the moral heat off of Israel. How can you get your back into accusing Israel for shooting at people with white flags when there are combattants hiding among them. (Idem for ambulances, checkpoints, etc.) Exhibit B is the explanation for this twisted morality. Noah Pollak over at Contentions explains how both Sarah Leah Whitson of Saudi notoriety and the author of the report, Joe Stork, have long careers and anti-Israel advocates (“pro-Palestinian” would be too twisted a term for people who have no problem with the Palestinian treatment of their own refugees).
And 2) it raises a huge problem of the validity of the testimony they collect among Palestinians. If Hamas will fire from the midst of civilians, hide behind white-flag toting refugees, and keep them cooped up in areas to which they draw fire, then surely they are not going to be very happy with Palestinians complaining about that behavior. Once HRW grants that such matters go on within the same report in which they present Palestinian evidence as their key source for their allegations, the epistemological house of cards begins to fall.
So exhibit C is an analysis of a particular case which I treated at some length in the aftermath of operation Cast Lead — the tale of the Abed Rabbo family. Here Elder of Ziyon examines the way in which HRW uses testimony whose only value is to document how unreliable Palestinian witnesses tend to be, in order to indict Israeli soldiers.