This letter appeared in the New York Times on July 9, 2009
A Bias Against Israel
Amnesty International's report on the conflict in Gaza is fundamentally biased against Israel ("Report Accuses Israel and Hamas of War Crimes in Gaza" news article, July 3). Nothing illustrates this more starkly than when the report deals with the issue of Gaza civilians caught up in the conflict.
When assessing Israeli efforts to warn civilians of an impending attack, whether by telephone or by leaflet, the report says that all such warnings did was create panic because the civilians had nowhere to flee.
On the other hand, when the report looked at Hamas's placing military infrastructure in the heart of civilian areas, it minimized the effect by arguing that Hamas did not force people to stay in their homes so civilians could flee attacks.
In other words, Amnesty adjusted its version of the facts to suit its a priori assumptions that Israel was the main party responsible for civilian deaths.
In fact, in a complicated situation, Israel did all it could to avoid civilian casualties. The main violator of human rights was Hamas; its eight-year rocketing of Israeli civilians and its deliberate placing of its military in civilian buildings, homes, schools, hospitals and mosques were major violations of international law. One would barely know this from the Amnesty "investigation."
Deputy National Director
New York, July 5, 2009