10.05.2006 | 07.27.2006 | 07.21.2006



10.05.2006



07.27.2006

Human Rights Watch: Funders first, access second, truth last

In a letter it just delivered to Secretary of State Rice, HRW did not once explicitly condemn Israeli actions in Lebanon and did not once use the term “war crime” to characterize them. In the hour of truth HRW has shown itself to be more anxious about its funding and access to power than the lives of hundreds of thousands of Lebanese civilians killed, wounded and brutally displaced by the Israeli vandals. Those who have followed the recent trajectory of HRW’s Middle East divison under the very capable stewardship of Sarah Leah Whitson hoped against hope that HRW would find the courage and integrity to free itself from the constraints of money and power. No one can dispute that Whitson’s heart, mind, and energy – each and all of which cannot but impress those who’ve met her – were in the right place. The disappointment is huge, our struggle made more difficult. But the shame is all theirs.



07.21.2006:

Contact HRW

hrwnyc@hrw.org | 1.212.290.4700

HRW has been a huge disappointment. It has yet to issue a broad condemnation of Israeli war crimes. It seems to be more concerned about funders than truth. But it DOES respond to criticism. Contact HRW and demand that it condemn Israeli crimes. Forward your leters to this web site for posting.



Reader letters to HRW

From: ullcap[at]bredband.no
To: hrwnyc[at]hrw.org
Sent: Saturday, July 29, 2006 6:45 PM
Subject: Why the servile language? Israel’s horrific war crimes in Lebanon require unequivocal condemnaton.

To Human Rights Watch

It was a huge disappointment to read your representative Sarah Leah Whitson’s letter to Condi Rice.
http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/07/22/lebano13799.htm
Israel horrific war crimes in Lebanon that are committed this instant are clear and obvious.
And Human Rights Watch is only “concerned”? And cannot bring itself to denounce Israeli war crimes in plain language? And uses the ridiculous terminology of the transparently hypocritical so-called “war on terror”?

This is difficult to believe of a decent humans rights organization.

This brings your organizations moral founding into very serious question indeed.

I would like an explanation to why SLH does not hesitate to denounce Hizbollah action as war crimes, and refrains from doing so when it comes to Israel. Is this an incidental distubance of your moral compass, or does it represent the basic values of your organization?

So far, HRW and its e-mail-service has been on my “trusted” list. Is ” Pro-Israeli human rights organization” perhaps a better term?”

U Cappelen
Norway



From: alroyfonseca[at]gmail.com
To: hrwnyc[at]hrw.org
Subject: Re: Letter to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice on the Crisis in Lebanon
Date: Sun, 30 Jul 2006 00:07:33 -0400

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to express my deep concern with the approach Human Rights
Watch has chosen to take in advocating its defense of human rights in
the ongoing Israel-Lebanon conflict. In your organization’s July 22,
2006, “Letter to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice on the Crisis in
Lebanon” signed by Sarah Leah Whitson, you correctly characterize
Hezbollah’s actions against Israel as “probable war crimes” but not
once refer to Israel’s indiscriminate assault on Lebanon’s civilian
infrastructure, which has resulted in hundreds of civilians deaths that
your organization has itself been working to document, with the same
terminology. Given the highly disproportionate nature of the current
conflict – i.e., the extremely high ratio of Lebanese civilian deaths
vis-à-vis Israeli civilian deaths – it is extremely odd that you would
not choose to condemn both Hezbollah’s and Israel’s actions as likely war crimes. What explanation do you offer for this inconsistency?

As a political science graduate student who has spent much time
researching conflict zones ranging from D.R. Congo to Sierra Leone to
Iraq, I’ve always trusted HRW to provide a consistent and highly
scrupulous defence of human rights. I am afraid that this recent
episode in HRW’s work – apparently indicating a serious lack of
consistency in the advocacy of human rights at a most critical time –
has undermined the respect afforded to your organization by many people
who have followed your work closely over the years. I very much hope
that this shortcoming can be rectified with the utmost expediency.

Sincerely,

Alroy Fonseca
Political Studies
Queen’s University



From: prochoice8[at]hotmail.com
To: berlin[at]hrw.org
CC: normangf[at]hotmail.com
Subject: NO WAR
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2006 07:40:03 +0000

Why call yourself “Human Rights” Watch?

Because you watch the interests of institutions, and especially
states?

Growing up in the Cold War, hrw was one of the institutions which
made me wonder about the construction of corporate identities and
other names.

Your sharp condemnations seemed to have much to do with taking sides
in the Cold War, and little with the members of the species “homo
sapiens” your name indicated.

In the last years hrw seemed to have lived up to its name (excellent
the reporting of Latvian gay pride day, and condemnation of the
Latvian government for discrimination) but now hrw is falling back into bad old habits – meeting the Israeli Army’s attack on civilians with very diplomatic language has the effect of endorsing violence and encouraging more bloodshed.
WHY, hrw?

Because you have a government of chickenhawks and warmongerers?
Or do you abandon the civilians because of pressure from a lobby
group using the label “anti-semite” for fear of having to join the
club?

(Don’t mind, it has become a vast one lately) Or did your leading members miss history classes at school? Using the atrocities of the last war to justify the next one is no way “unique”.

It is a very long list.

A certain Mr Milosevic was tried in (The International) court for
what he felt he needed to do to “prevent another Amselfeld” – until
he escaped by an undeserved easy death, unlike his victims.
And that gave me hope this specious argument would be put out of
use.

But now mylikes is “collateral damage” again – unimportant.

And development of civilian methods for getting rid of bomb-loving
fanatics will further be obstructed. (UN resolution 1559 seems to
trust civilians to do that, while all military efforts failed!)
As long as I am sitting somewhere outside an actual war zone, and my
computer is functioning on power provided by the local power plant,
I can and I will tell the world that I do not and will never believe
in any justification for war. I am a civilian and care for living
beings only.

Taking your name serious, you should accept caring for all civilians including those in Lebanon and Gaza, otherwise change your name!

Rune C. Olwen
Danish-German Border Region
(where national conflicts have been solved with words for more than 60 years)



From: John.Jarowski[at]bostoncoach.com
To: normangf@hotmail.com
Subject: Letter I sent to HRW
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2006 19:10:20 -0400

Dear Human Rights Watch,

I hope I am sending this letter to the appropriate persons but I trust that even if I am not, it will be passed on accordingly. As a human rights activist I have always admired the courageous stands that your organization has made on the most crucial issues of our day. This is why I have taken time out of my busy work schedule to express concern over your recent letter to Condoleeza Rice written by Sarah Leah Whitson. (Found here: http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/07/22/lebano13799.htm)

I know it is not your usual behavior to kowtow to governments and accepting at face value their rationalizations for action. However, the tone and substance of this letter does exactly that. While you are unequivocal in your denunciation of Hezbollah, the concern you express with regard to the State of Israel’s well documented crimes (extensively done by your own organization) is watered down.

Your letter starts from the supposition that Israel’s actions are defensive and are part of a U.S. lead War on Terrorism. Never in your letter do you challenge this premise, however inconsistent it is with the facts.

Furthermore, your first mention of war crimes in this whole saga is a reference to Hezbollah’s. While it is of course appropriate to be denouncing such crimes, placing it first suggests that the crimes of Hezbollah are greater than Israel’s. Yet your own reporting contradicts this. On the flipside, Israel’s first war crime isn’t mentioned until the sixth paragraph and is presented in the context of urging Ms. Rice to inquire into these “incidents” and asking her to raise “concerns”. In your letter, you are clear in your denunciation of Hezbollah’s arrest of a soldier within its borders as a crime. Yet when Israel commits war crimes, on a grander scale, you express ‘concern’ over ‘incidents.’ What is the explanation for this curious choice of words?

Despite the fact that Israeli incursions into Lebanon are illegal under international law, rather than denouncing them outright, your letter implicitly sanctions them. For example, instead of urging a cease fire (which has been called for by virtually the entire world community), you recommend that Rice tell Israel to allow civilians to safely evacuate areas where it is about to bomb and “immediately re-examine its military practices to ensure that they strictly comply with the requirements of international humanitarian law, undertake credible independent investigations into violations that may have occurred, and hold accountable any individuals found to be responsible for serious violations.” This only serves to dress up Israel’s actions in the cloak of legality. And if civilians die, well, they are collateral damage. Frankly, I find this position puzzling for any human rights group to take but especially Human Rights Watch whose work has done much to expose crimes and alleviate the suffering of people around the world.

Hoping for a response,
John Jarowski



From: abuhabsah[at]gmail.com
To: hrwnyc[at]hrw.org, normangf[at]hotmail.com
Subject: Israeli’s War Crimes
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2006 21:11:06 -0500

Please make a clear condemnation of Israel’s actions toward the
Lebanese and the Palestinian people. From reading any main stream
news source, it is obvious war crimes have taken place. It is your
job to report this injustice, so please do your job. Thank you for
your time and have a super day.

Nidal Abuhabsah



From: mhi[at]xs4all.nl
To: hrwnyc[at]hrw.org, normangf[at]hotmail.com
Subject: HRW: a dark world
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2006 05:42:25 +0200

While Israel is destroying the civilian infrastructure of Labanon,
bombing roads, bridges, factories, cities, even mosks, while Israel
is turning whole neighbourhoods into rubble, while is kills
civilians and creates hundreds of thousands of refugees, Human
Rights Watch cannot bring itself to condemn Israel for doing all
these thing (all of which are direct violations of internatial law).
It has no hesitation in condemning Hezbolla, but in the case of
Israel….. one doesn’t condemn that country, it seems.

One just describes what it is doing, and sometimes one even tries to
tell Israel very, very carefully, that it might do certain things
differently, not by telling them so, but by saying something in
general, in the hope maybe that the generals and politicians in
Jerusalem will be gracious enough to understand that HRM is telling
them – o so polite! – that it would be okay for them to change their
attitude somewhat.

Some examples:

“Israel should warn people of attacks, but those warnings can’t be
used to justify harming civilians who remain. Civilians who can’t
evacuate are still fully protected by international law.”

“Human Rights Watch believes that the use of cluster munitions in
populated areas may violate the prohibition on indiscriminate
attacks contained in international humanitarian law. The wide
dispersal pattern of their submunitions makes it very difficult to
avoid civilian casualties if civilians are in the area”

As long as one doesn’t condemn!

Human Rights Watch was once a monument of integrity, treating crimes
as crimes, refusing to discriminate between criminals, but exposing
them for what they did, not what they are.

Not any more. It is a dark world indeed, in which even human rights
organisation lose their integrity

Mart Heert



From: Nidal Abuhabsah abuhabsah[at]gmail.com
To: hrwnyc[at]hrw.org, normangf[at]hotmail.com
Subject: Israeli’s War Crimes
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2006 21:11:06 -0500

Please make a clear condemnation of Israel’s actions toward the
Lebanese and the Palestinian people. From reading any main stream
news source, it is obvious war crimes have taken place. It is your
job to report this injustice, so please do your job. Thank you for
your time and have a super day.

Nidal Abuhabsah



From: feroze.sidhwa[at]gmail.com
To: hrwnyc[at]hrw.org
Subject: current Israel-Lebanon issues
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 19:36:59 -0400

Dear HRW:

There is a great deal of evidence coming out in the Hebrew and Lebanese press that Israel is systematically targeting civilian infrastructure and civilians themselves in Lebanon. Of course, the same is true of Hezbollah, as your website points out, but nobody disputes that fact, while across the United States media pundits are constantly talking of Israel’s “targeting of Hezbollah” and “strikes against Hezbollah.” All indications are that Israel’s assault has virtually ignored Hezbollah, leaving it fully able to fire dozens of rockets per day from only a few kilometers north of the Israel-Lebanon border while Israel bombs Beirut and villages and towns even further north, areas from which Hezbollah quite obviously cannot attack Israel in any way.

I follow human rights issues quite closely through your website and through that of Amnesty International. I also follow Middle Eastern English media very closely. Haaretz and the Daily Star are both reporting daily targeting of hospitals, humanitarian convoys, roads, bridges, DP convoys, ambulances, fuel depots, Lebanese army positions, the Rafik al-Hariri airport, Lebanon’s sea ports, factories producing milk, plastics and paper, and much more that cannot possibly have anything to do with Hezbollah. It is abundantly clear that Israel is not attacking Hezbollah, it is attacking Lebanon under the pretext of attacking Hezbollah, and assuming (correctly) that the American media will simply relay Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs press releases to the public as objective “news”.

HRW need not “condemn” Israel or any other country. What disturbs me is that HRW hasn’t issued a statement about the reported and substantiated facts and what those facts indicate. The fact that Hezbollah is deliberately trying to kill Israeli civilians with its rocket attacks is not disputed, not even by Hezbollah. But Israel’s obviously deliberate and pre-planned targeting of all Lebanese civil society is an outrage. Especially since the American media are not covering the fact that Israel is targeting Lebanon and the Lebanese, not Hezbollah, Human Rights Watch must make mention of the facts. HRW has the means and the influence to bring this issue to light, and this is of no small consequence to the hundreds of Lebanese and dozens of Israelis who will die in the coming days if the violence is not stopped.

HRW has been a principled defender of human rights across the globe for decades now. I am proud to be a contributing member, and when Israel’s assault on Lebanon is over I will still be proud to be a contributing member. But HRW must pursue its mandate. There is an acute lack of awareness in the United States about the human rights situation in Lebanon right now (there is no corresponding lack of awareness of the human rights situation in Israel). Human Rights Watch ought to correct that problem.

Sincerely,
Feroze Sidhwa



From: AlHoshanH[at]aol.com
To: HRWNYC[at]HRW.ORG, normangf[at]hotmail.com
Subject: CONDEMN ISRAELI WAR CRIMES
Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2006 09:50:29 EDT

It is not enough to say that Israel should allow humanitarian aid to reach the Lebanese. HRW, as an organization that champions humanitarian law, MUST CLEARLY POINT OUT when such law is being broken by Israel and demand that Israel stop killing civilians and damaging civilian infrastructure both in Lebanon and in Gaza.

THE TRUTH IS WORTH MORE THAN ALL THE MONEY ON EARTH



From: aiman haddad a_h_h2000[at]yahoo.com
To: hrwnyc[at]hrw.org
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2006 21:09:37 -0700 (PDT)

To Whom It May Concern,

I regularly follow your press releases and read your
publications about the Middle East and the
Israel-Palestine conflict in particular. I consider
your web site a great resource and guide on many
issues. However, your lack of condemnation of the
Israeli crimes in Lebanon has come as a surprise to
me. Israel’s targeting of the civilian population and
infrastructure and terrorizing of an entire nation is
a flagrant violation of human rights law.

I am hopeful that you will put your credibility first
and do what you know is right.

Aiman Haddad



From: mary[at]pacefarms.com
To: hrwnyc[at]hrw.org
CC: normangf[at]hotmail.com
Subject: israeli war crimes
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2006 17:19:36 -0400

Sir/Madam,

It is extremely disappointing to turn to Human Rights Watch–so often
a beacon in a sea of despair–for a strong statement condemning the
latest Israeli campaign of collective punishment, of systematic destruction
of civilian infrastructure, and of war crimes as defined in all of the
major treaties including the Geneva Conventions which HRW so regularly cites
in support of victims of torture.

Are we to believe that HRW has no position on this the latest atrocity
against the people of the Middle East? Perhaps threats of the cutting
off of funding has indeed taken its toll on our precious organization. To
stand idly by while doing nothing is to condone a slip into the coming
war.

Shame. We all expect better.

Alexander Keen Grant



From: elbradley[at]mindspring.com
To: hrwnyc[at]hrw.org
CC: normangf[at]hotmail.com
Subject: Invasion of Lebanon

Please take a strong public stand against Israel’s wanton destruction in Lebanon.

This should not be a difficult issue for an esteemed organization such as HRW. Your opinion does matter.

Sincerely yours,

Edwin Bradley
San Francisco, CA



From: njm_1974[at]hotmail.com
To: hrwnyc[at]hrw.org
Subject: Israeli War Crimes
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2006 19:50:01 +0000

Dear Sir/Madam,

I need not remind you of the the brutality and collective punishment that Israeli forces are currently inflicting upon the entire Lebanese population.

Whilst I greatly admire your organization and regularly support you financially, I am extremely disappointed at your silence on this issue.

Is it not enough that the US have basically endorsed this barbarism in their desire to reshape Lebanon accordingly? As you are aware, HRW have a unique position and standing in matters as such, where many look to you for leadership, truth and courage amidst the lies.

How many civilians must be killed before you condemn the state of Israel which has basically destroyed a country that on the whole committed no crime.

The time has come where each and every one of us must lose our patience and find our voices and stop this heinous attack of ordinary civilians. Enough is enough!

I sincerely do not want to lose my support for your organization and as such plea that you urgently release a statement.

Kind Regards,

Nizar J Makdesi



From: Sanjeev Mahajan smahajan[at]sbcglobal.net
To: hrwnyc[at]hrw.org
CC: normangf[at]hotmail.com
Subject: Israeli War Crimes

Sir/Madam,

I am quite disappointed that Human Rights Watch has not unequivocally condemned Israel’s war crimes in Palestine and Lebanon. Israeli state terrorism targets schools, bridges and power stations, mercilessly kills Lebanese civilians and wantonly destroys Lebanon’s infrastructure. According to the recent issue of Al Ahram Weekly, “Israeli has bombed Lebanon back to the Civil War era”. In one of the largest evacuation in years, “Lebanon became once again a country of cars packed with people and belongings, of suitcases, of makeshift refuges.” In one week of Israeli attacks, 235 people have been killed, all but 27 of them civilians, and hundreds injured. Whole families have been wiped out in southern Lebanon. In the village of Marwaheen, 20 people were incinerated when an Israeli missile hit their van. A spokesman for the United Nations peacekeeping force in the south, Milos Strugar, told Reuters they were among 100 people who
went to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) centre for shelter after Israel dropped leaflets on their village giving them hours to leave. According to Amnesty International, it is the Lebanese civilians who are paying the heaviest price of the Israeli bombing campaign.

It is shocking that in the face of horrible Isreali brutality that would be
considered war crimes under international law, Human Rights Watch
remains silent. I, therefore, urge you to stay true to your mission,
and strongly condemn Israeli war crimes. I need not remind you that quest
for truth and justice is a much nobler than the fear that you will incur the wrath of your powerful funders.

Sincerely,
Sanjeev Mahajan



From: jeffcapodanno[at]yahoo.com
To: normangf[at]hotmail.com
Subject: letter to Human Rights Watch
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 16:37:36 -0700 (PDT)

Through the years you’ve been there to expose some of the more heinous crimes of the twentieth century. I’ve relied on you time and again for accurate and credible reports which have become increasingly important as information becomes increasingly unavailable in the U.S.

What Israel is doing today is a continuation of a brand of barbarism they have been leveling against Arabs for decades now. Crimes you have often taken the lead in exposing and which have been relentlessly documented in dozens of scholarly works.

Again they defy international law, US law, Israeli law, the Declaration of Human Rights as illustrated by the reports from B T’selem, Amnesty, the Swiss government, the UN and others. But this time Human Rights Watch is silent. Now, at a time when Israel’s crimes are arguably on a scale many of us cannot recall. At a time when the people of the Middle East need your voice most, you remain silent… calculating, perhaps.

It doesn’t fit with your reputation, it calls into question your integrity, and jeopardizes your credibility.

Human rights organizations are often targeted by rogue regimes. Their credibility is often called into question, and a great effort is made to undermine their reports. I’m sure you are aware of this. If you have decided to cower in the face of pressure from donors it would be best that you get out of the game so as to spare the credibility of your peer organizations.

I hope instead you take this opportunity to add to the condemnation of the crimes the US Congress has just voted 410-8 to support. People need your voice. Bombing power plants, wheat silos, roads, bridges and neighborhoods is not hard to condemn. Targeting public health infrastructure is not hard to condemn. This makes your silence scandalous.

Sincerely,
Jeff Capodanno



From: maren.hackmann[at]t-online.de
To: hrwnyc[at]hrw.org
CC: normangf[at]hotmail.com
Subject: Condemn Israeli War Crimes! Stop the Slaughter!

Dear Sarah Leah Whitson,

Earlier this year (5 January 2006) I wrote to thank you for your very explicit denunciation of Israel’s settlement expansion in the West Bank. As you told President George W. Bush in your 27 December 2005 letter, “Israel’s continuing settlement activity is a violation of international humanitarian law, United Nations Security Council resolutions, and Israel’s own commitments under the U.S.-sponsored Road Map of April 2003.” In the name of your organization, which I have a very high regard for, you went on to say, “We urge you to take immediate action to end U.S. support of Israel’s unlawful policies.”

Since then, Israel has been plunging the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip into ever deeper misery. Nonetheless, I’m sure your protest did have an effect.

Now that Israel is killing hundreds of civilians in Lebanon as well, another explicit denunciation of Israel’s crimes would seem to be in order, but to my dismay, I could not find any on your website. What I did find, was your statement, posted today, that Israel’s attacks on relief and medical convoys “would indicate that Israel is failing to take appropriate precautions to avoid targeting civilian objects.” In light of the fact that Israel, from the very beginning of the current onslaught and in keeping with its egregious track record in both Lebanon and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, has been using every conceivable means of killing and harming as many civilians as possible, this is hardly an appropriate response.

My only explanation for this change of tune is that your organization has come under a barrage of pressure, for your more explicit condemnations of Israeli war crimes in the past.

However, as UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory John Dugard has rightfully pointed out in his 5 July 2006 Statement to the Special Session of the Human Rights Council, “it does not help to conceal the full extent of Israel’s wrongdoing by the use of polite euphemisms.”

Please do your best to stop the slaughter immediately, both in Lebanon and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and condemn Israel’s war crimes now, in plain language.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Maren Hackmann



From: “Tanweer Akram” tanweer_akram[at]hotmail.com
To: hrwnyc[at]hrw.org
Subject: Human Rights Watch on Lebanon
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 20:13:04 +0000

Dear sir or madam:

I am writing to express grave concern about Isreal’s war on Lebanon,
its bombing and destruction, and attacks on civilian population.
Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese are being forced to flee their
homes. Hundred of people have been killed and thousands injured
during the Israeli attacks on civilian targets. Many children have
been killed and wounded.

All this is shocking. I would urge Human Rights Watch to strongly
condemn this grotesque violation of human rights, international law
and sovereignty. You should issue a strong condemnation and fully
document the massacres that Israel is committing and urge the
international community to stop Israel now, without any
precondition.

Sincerely,
Tanweer Akram



From: feroze.sidhwa[at]gmail.com
To: hrwnyc[at]hrw.org
Subject: current Israel-Lebanon issues
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 19:36:59 -0400

Dear HRW:

There is a great deal of evidence coming out in the Hebrew and Lebanese press that Israel is systematically targeting civilian infrastructure and civilians themselves in Lebanon. Of course, the same is true of Hezbollah, as your website points out, but nobody disputes that fact, while across the United States media pundits are constantly talking of Israel’s “targeting of Hezbollah” and “strikes against Hezbollah.” All indications are that Israel’s assault has virtually ignored Hezbollah, leaving it fully able to fire dozens of rockets per day from only a few kilometers north of the Israel-Lebanon border while Israel bombs Beirut and villages and towns even further north, areas from which Hezbollah quite obviously cannot attack Israel in any way.

I follow human rights issues quite closely through your website and through that of Amnesty International. I also follow Middle Eastern English media very closely. Haaretz and the Daily Star are both reporting daily targeting of hospitals, humanitarian convoys, roads, bridges, DP convoys, ambulances, fuel depots, Lebanese army positions, the Rafik al-Hariri airport, Lebanon’s sea ports, factories producing milk, plastics and paper, and much more that cannot possibly have anything to do with Hezbollah. It is abundantly clear that Israel is not attacking Hezbollah, it is attacking Lebanon under the pretext of attacking Hezbollah, and assuming (correctly) that the American media will simply relay Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs press releases to the public as objective “news”.

HRW need not “condemn” Israel or any other country. What disturbs me is that HRW hasn’t issued a statement about the reported and substantiated facts and what those facts indicate. The fact that Hezbollah is deliberately trying to kill Israeli civilians with its rocket attacks is not disputed, not even by Hezbollah. But Israel’s obviously deliberate and pre-planned targeting of all Lebanese civil society is an outrage. Especially since the American media are not covering the fact that Israel is targeting Lebanon and the Lebanese, not Hezbollah, Human Rights Watch must make mention of the facts. HRW has the means and the influence to bring this issue to light, and this is of no small consequence to the hundreds of Lebanese and dozens of Israelis who will die in the coming days if the violence is not stopped.

HRW has been a principled defender of human rights across the globe for decades now. I am proud to be a contributing member, and when Israel’s assault on Lebanon is over I will still be proud to be a contributing member. But HRW must pursue its mandate. There is an acute lack of awareness in the United States about the human rights situation in Lebanon right now (there is no corresponding lack of awareness of the human rights situation in Israel). Human Rights Watch ought to correct that problem.

Sincerely,
Feroze Sidhwa



Dear Sir/Madame,

I am writing to request that Human Rights Watch issue a public statement of condemnation against Israeli atrocities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Southern Lebanon. This past week has been one of the bloodiest since the Palestinian uprising began in 2000. Despite what U.S. and Israeli officials have to say about Hezbollah’s responsibility in all of this senseless bloodshed, the simple fact of the matter is that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has quite vocally expressed his desire to use brute force in crushing a legitimate resistance to an inhumane colonial occupation.

His resolute commitment to violence has been sensationalized in recent days throughout the international media. Nobody save the dumb, deaf, and blind could have failed to acknowledge his policy of reckless murder. The invasion and destruction of refugee camps,areas intended as safe-havens for those who have been forcefully removed from their land, should offend each and every person of decency and sound conscience. It has been reported that more than 300 Lebanese have been killed and nearly half a million displaced this past week alone. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Israeli Defense Forces have deliberately and needlessly attacked civilian targets – an indefensible violation of international law. World diplomats have gone so far as to caution the Israeli Cabinet that current policy towards the Palestinian and Lebanese people might result in war crimes.

Given the prominence of Human Rights Watch as a defender of human rights everywhere, I very strongly urge you to issue a vocal condemnation of Israeli atrocities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Southern Lebanon. As people of conscience, we cannotand should never stand by as innocent civilians are being slaughtered by a morally bankrupt army commanded by an equally bankrupt leader. The United States, being the chief military and economic backer of Israel and, by logical extension, an accomplice
to Israeli atrocities against innocent Arab civilians has the moral responsibility to bring an end to this madness. We have every right to demand that that U.S. reverse its immoral policy of remaining idle in the face of escalating violence. Our silence will only perpetuate the atrocities.

Abid Qureshi
New York, NY



From: “Khaled Sabawi” kalsabawi[at]gmail.com
To: hrwnyc[at]hrw.org
CC: normangf[at]hotmail.com
Subject: HRW: Please condem Israel’s aggression!
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 12:01:24 -0400

Dear Human Rights Watch,

It is difficult to understand why Human Rights Watch, one of the
world’s most respected human rights organizations, has not condemned
Israel’s atrocious aggression against the civilian population in
Lebanon. On your website you state that you are an organization that
“is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the
world” and that you stand “to protect people from inhumane conduct in
wartime, and to bring offenders to justice”. Unfortunately, this looks
to be something of the past. I demand that you condemn Israeli’s war
crimes and uphold your reputation as protectors of human rights around
the world.

Khaled Sabawi