NGO Monitor Examines 'White Flags' Report

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JERUSALEM, Israel - A Jerusalem-based research group took a close look at the Human Rights Watch (HRW) paper, "White Flag Deaths," which accuses Israeli soldiers of killing 11 Gaza civilians waving white flags during Operation Cast Lead last January.

After reviewing the paper and HRW'S ongoing publicity campaign following its publication, NGO Monitor found "many fundamental deficiencies and inconsistencies."

To begin with, HRW's "unverifiable conclusions" are based on secondhand information because no one from its organization was in Gaza during the conflict.

The report's co-author, Joe Stork, is a "veteran anti-Israel political activist," who headed MERIP (Middle East Research and Information Project), with its decidedly biased reporting on the Jewish state.

MERIP interviewed numbers of terror leaders and referred to the "achievements" in the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre of Israeli athletes.

The report ignores the fact that Hamas fought from inside hospitals and used ambulances for its military operations.

Instead the paper focuses on providing "evidence" of Israeli "war crimes," a phrase repeated 15 times in the report.

"White Flag Deaths" also makes a point of rejecting the well-documented information on the terror group's use of human shields, while relying on Palestinian eyewitnesses, some of whom have provided inconsistent and questionable information in the past.

"This is another HRW publication that substitutes speculation for serious research," NGO Monitor President Prof. Gerald Steinberg concluded.

"The text reflects HRW's consistent pattern with regard to the Middle East, with condemnation of Israel as its starting point, particularly in relation to the Gaza conflict," he said.

"It is further evidence, if any were needed following the Saudi fund-raising dinner, that HRW is more interested in targeting Israel than in promoting universal human rights."

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