Amnesty Int'l: Winograd report fails to address Israel's war crimes
Haaretz | Feb. 2, 2008
Human rights organization Amnesty International on Thursday called the Winograd Commission's final report on Israel's conduct during the Second Lebanon War, published Wednesday, "deeply flawed," in its failure to address war crimes committed by Israel.
The organization said that the report failed to investigate government policies and military strategies that didn't discriminate between the Lebanese civilian population and Hezbollah combatants and between civilian property and infrastructure and military targets.
"This was yet another missed opportunity to address the policies and decisions behind the grave violations of international humanitarian law , including war crimes, committed by Israeli forces," said Malcolm Smart, Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Program.
"The indiscriminate killings of many Lebanese civilians not involved in the hostilities and the deliberate and wanton destruction of civilian properties and infrastructure on a massive scale were given no more than token consideration by the commission," said Smart.
The press release explained that that though the Winograd inquiry committee was not vested with the powers of an official state commission of investigation, it had the power to subpoena witnesses and recommend the prosecution of officials it found to have been responsible for willful or negligent criminal conduct.
According to Amnesty International, "the [Winograd Commission] chose to limit its work to reviewing military strategy and political decisions...and made to effort to recommend measures for holding those responsible for [serious violations] to account. It recommends the development of mechanisms to ensure the effectiveness of fighting within the framework of international humanitarian law standards [and] immediate investigations by the army when there are concerns that international humanitarian law was violated and better preparedness for responding to humanitarian problems arising from military action."
"But it essentially brushed aside available evidence of serious violations of international law, claiming that interpretations of international humanitarian law are controversial, that it did not have the capacity to deal with the volume of data, that the alleged violations were already being investigated by other bodies, and that such allegations are used as propaganda against Israel, whereas it did scrutinize military strategies and the conduct of certain operations in detail, including in cases which were already being investigated separately."
Based on its on-the-ground research and analysis of the conduct of hostilities in 2006, Amnesty International concluded that the Lebanese civilian population paid the heaviest price for the Israel Defense Force attacks.
"Of some 1,190 people killed, the vast majority were civilians not involved in the hostilities, among them hundreds of children. The overwhelming majority of homes, properties and infrastructure targeted in air strikes and artillery attacks were likewise civilian."
"Although the Winograd Commission recommended that the army review its policies on the use of cluster bombs to ensure that the use of these weapons will not violate international humanitarian law and army discipline, it did not propose any concrete measures," said Smart.
Amnesty International called on Israel's government to provide data on the use of cluster bombs during the Second Lebanon War, establish an independent and impartial investigation into evidence indicating that IDF forces committed serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the conflict, and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.
HOFFMAN'S AFTERWORD: The Talmud and halacha (rabbinic law) rule that "no one may judge Israel." With all the perpetual hand-wringing and weeping over the Nazi "Holocaust," Israeli war crimes are never prosecuted, and seldom publicized or commemorated. The "Holocaust" has nothing to do with universal human rights and everything to do with creating a religion of Judaism for gentiles, "Holocaustianity." In the eyes of true believers in that new religious creed, Israelis can do no wrong, while Arabs, including Arab Christians, are always wrong. Their deaths don't count. Their blood is cheap, like the Talmud says.