Against Its Better Judgment, Amnesty International Discovers the Truth about the Gaza War

Amnesty International, hardly an organization known for sympathy with Israel, recently released its report on Operation Protective Edge. Evelyn Gordon notes that its findings undermine Amnesty’s own allegations that Israel attacked Gaza without regard for civilian casualties:

The most interesting finding in the [Amnesty] report was that Hamas’s rockets killed more civilians in Gaza than they did in Israel. Altogether, Amnesty said, the rockets killed six Israeli civilians and “at least” thirteen Palestinian civilians. Where did the latter figure come from? From a single misfired rocket. . . . In other words, Amnesty didn’t bother checking to see whether other Hamas rockets also killed civilians; it simply cited the one case it couldn’t possibly ignore, because it was reported in real time by a foreign journalist at the scene.

But according to IDF figures, roughly 550 rockets and mortars fired at Israel fell short and landed in Gaza, including 119 that hit urban areas. And it defies belief to think those other 549 rockets and mortars produced no casualties. After all, unlike Israel, Gaza has no civil-defense system whatsoever. . . .

But once you acknowledge that some portion of those civilian casualties was actually caused by misfired Hamas rockets rather than by Israeli strikes, then the claim of excessive civilian casualties becomes even more untenable. Indeed, it means the civilian-to-combatant fatality ratio from Israeli strikes was likely below the 1:1 [figure claimed by Israel, let alone the higher ratio alleged by Amnesty and the UN].

[Furthermore], Amnesty has admitted that Hamas used Gaza’s main hospital as a detention, interrogation, and torture center. And if Hamas was misusing a hospital in this way, it defies belief to think it wasn’t similarly misusing other civilian buildings for military purposes. . . . And, in that case, the allegation that Israel wantonly attacked civilian structures also collapses.

Read more at Evelyn Gordon

More about: Amnesty International, Gaza, Hamas, IDF, Israel & Zionism, Protective Edge

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7