Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) last week published its own report on alleged war crimes committed by Israel during Operation Protective Shield (last summer’s Gaza war). This is the first among other forthcoming reports from third parties that have decided in advance that Israel is guilty.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned an investigation launched by the UN Human Rights Commission as a “travesty [that] should be rejected by decent people everywhere.” The same could be said of the PHR report, which was produced by its local branch, PHR-Israel.
Like most human rights organizations, PHR is guilty of shouting “bull’s-eye” before firing the first shot.
Physicians for Human Rights is a somewhat misleading name because the group’s primary goal is not to heal the sick, but rather to advance extreme leftist political agenda. It is in fact a body created to use science and medicine to stop human rights violations. That’s why physicians working for the organization have taken upon themselves to investigate alleged war crimes that are in actuality outside of their sphere of expertise.
It should be noted that, like for the aforementioned reason, the PHR report refrained from directly accusing Israel of committing war crimes. Instead, it suggested there was justification for such allegations.
For example, the fact-finding mission (FFM) concluded that “attacks were characterized by heavy and unpredictable bombardments of civilian neighborhoods in a manner that failed to discriminate between legitimate targets and protected populations and caused widespread destruction of homes and civilian property. Such indiscriminate attacks, by aircraft, drones, artillery, tanks and gunships, were unlikely to have been the result of decisions made by individual soldiers or commanders; they must have entailed approval from top-level decision-makers in the Israeli military and/or government.”
Such severe conclusions are provided despite the fact that, as the report itself admits, “the FFM teams did not have access to UNRWA facilities” that were used as shelters for civilians and simultaneously as Hamas ammunition depots, which the FFM fails to mention entirely.
Such revelations were numerous:
“The FFM also had no access to evidence regarding the conduct of Palestinian armed combatants within Gaza, and the teams were not able to examine official Israeli allegations regarding misuse of civilian or medical facilities for military purposes, beyond what its members were told by interviewees.”
Also, as a kind of aside, “because of a lack of military expertise, the FFM was not in a position to provide a comprehensive analysis of the types of weapons used by Israeli forces.”
In other words, PHR-Israel conducted an unprofessional, partial and biased investigation.
These “limitations” were demonstrated the moment media outlets received and aired video interviews with purported Gaza witnesses of Israeli crimes. Among those interviewed, as it turned out, were at least two Hamas fighters.
Undeterred by such minutia, PHR-Israel is pressing the international community to conduct “urgent and rigorous investigation into the impact of this war, as well as the previous armed conflicts … in Gaza. In this assessment, the implacable effects of the on-going occupation itself must be taken into account.”
Lest there be any misunderstanding, it is the abhorred occupation that fuels the extreme Israeli left, which in turn has fallen prey to the false Palestinian narrative that claims control of the historical Land of Israel.
It is truly sad that even though 80 percent of Israelis view the activities of organizations like PHR in much the same way as Americans viewed Jane Fonda’s visit to North Vietnam, their influence far exceeds their numbers, and the damage they inflict upon Israel is beyond measure.
The road to hell is paved with good intensions, and groups like PHR are working overtime to finish this road as quickly as possible, not realizing that they, too, will reach the same destination as their political rivals.