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Letter to the Editor: Palestinian Authority's Lose-Lose Solution Irish Letter: Gaza Flotilla Is NOT Humanitarian Letter in the Washington Post re: Saeb Erekat's Op-ed piece Letter to THE TIMES re: Israel Bashing Letter in Jerusalem Post: We too can help Gilad Schalit To the Scotsman: Were killed or Assassinated?! Terror, or state terror? To: The Daily Telegraph: different approaches to the treatment of stone throwers To The Telegraph: 10,000 British passports issued fraudulently, including to al-Qaida terrorists To the Dundee Courier: Hamas regime is strangling life out of Gaza To The Sunday Herald: Who are the war criminals? To the JPOST: Acting Together To the WSJ - Palestinian Abuses Greated with Silence To the Jpost: The truth about Goldstone is even worse To the WSJ: U.N. investigator suppressed undesired evidence? To the BBC: Quoting ‘Human Rights Watch’ - is NOT impartiality To the JPost: Kafka’s work of fiction now sees life To the JPOST, RE: Board chief handed a PR gift to Israel's enemies LETTER to NYT's new Public Editor - Mistaken Numbers - and NO "judenrein" again LETTER to the NYT Letters' editor Letter about PM Netanyahu’s speech Letter to the Daily Mail Editor: Jewish Settlements Haaretz: Journalistic ethics and integrity Low Editorial Standards at The Independent Letter to the Editor about "Zionist control of the British media" - the old British anti-Semitism spectre GAZA CEASE-FIRE – Will the Muslim leadership keep its word? To the NYT: Humanitarian Aid to Gaza by Israel – Enough or not? Denmark, Israel, compensations for damages, Hamas A Grave Case of War Crimes Ridiculous comparison of Gaza with the Warsaw Ghetto Letter on GAZA by British dignitaries in Guardian Israel's Active Defense - Disproportionate? New Ways to Release Gilad (or: Hamas War Crimes against Gilad) Don’t Underestimate Iran’s Threats - Sample Letter Understanding Ahmadinejad IHT Publishes AJC Letter on Israel Editorial Letter to Haaretz Editor: MISLEADING TITLE Letter in Wall Street Journal about the Al-Durra forgery Apology for al-Dura broadcast Appeasement of Evil Revival of global pro-Israel spirit ”Not a single frame supports France 2’s view that Israeli soldiers killed the Al-Durra boy” The International Herald Tribune doesn’t support free speech Life 9 Miles from the Mediterranean Sea The BBC Continues Distorted Reporting. 2503 kids not going to school in Sderot and Gaza One more Letter about one more BBC Bias Let fair reporting and truth have a front seat ‘UNDERSTANDING For Suicide Killers; Less For Their Victims’ CONFRONTING' IS NOT 'JOINING New Evidence that British Journalism is Biased Baroness Tonge's unfounded accusations of Israel may have deserved for her to be disciplined again.. Israel wants to meet Arabs in sport The Mail revealed the true picture - vs. the reports by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the BBC TV News from Betlehem to Haaretz: "Get rid of Gideon Levy" Britons to Iranian Holocaust Conference! Muslim Grievances WATCH OUT for 'Human Rights Watch' and 'Amnesty' ! Letter to HAARETZ : Who Killed the Arab girl? To HAARETZ: Arafat's heritage Testament of Youth There's no alternative to Israeli"wall" To Haaretz: On the ethics of the IDF -Tzahal To Haaretz: Hass helps PA pick foreign taxpayers' pockets BOYCOTT OF ISRAELI COLLEGES Balance your reporting on the Cease-Fire! Why did Haaretz Report in Favor of ISM Peace Activist? Wishful thinking at Haaretz Bush-bashing is not enough for understanding Ahmadinejad Reader’s Letter to the Los Angeles Times A call for Responsible Journalism Does IDF deliberately kill civilians? Viewer's Letter to The BBC, Sky News, CNN and IBA Has Barghouti deserved your good PR service? To the JPost: "Our long September 11" - The Terrorist's Intefada
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WATCH OUT for 'Human Rights Watch' and 'Amnesty' !

Copy of a letter to the New York  Sun
from Maurice Ostroff: 
A critic's first duty is to get his facts right

To The Editor                                                   September 3, 2006
NY Sun
 A critic's first duty is to get his facts right

I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Roth's statement "A critic's first duty is to get his facts right" ‘Roth's False God' (NY Sun August 23). It is particularly appropriate as it is HRW's failure to separate fact from conjecture that gives rise to the severe criticism that has unfortunately diminished the stature of this very important humanitarian organization.

For example in his letter of August 8, ‘Roth's Supersessionism' Roth states categorically that  Human Rights Watch researchers found no Hezbollah soldiers or arms anywhere in sight of a very large number of the civilians killed in their homes or vehicles by Israeli bombs.

HRW workers may well have found no signs of arms or Hezbollah soldiers when they arrived. But the statement that none were there immediately prior to, or at the time of the relevant attacks is conjecture. So too, is the assumption that the casualties found were all civilians. Permit me to explain.

In a letter I wrote to Mr. Roth on August 20, (which remains unacknowledged), I attached photographs of Hezbollah fighters on heavily armed vehicles in the midst of high rise residential areas. According to Chris Tinkler of the Australian Sunday Mail, the extremists use high-density residential areas as launch pads for rockets and heavy caliber weapons. Dressed in civilian clothing so they can quickly melt back into suburbia, the fighters carrying automatic assault rifles ride in on trucks laden with cannons.  (My complete letter to Mr.Roth, including the photographs, may be found on the web at http://tinyurl.co.uk/nlio)
A little research reveals that it is futile to expect evidence of a rocket launcher, even soon after a firing. According to the Global Security Organization, mobile rocket launchers move out from underground facilities, fire from pre planned firing positions, and return in a few minutes to protected caves or to alternate firing positions.
Surely it is unforgivable for a serious organization to ignore evidence of this nature
It is puzzling that Mr. Roth seems to be unconcerned about Hezbollah's locating of military objectives near concentrations of civilians; a serious a war crime. Nor does he take into account that the laws of armed conflict do not preclude attacking a legitimate military target in the proximity of civilians.

I quote article 51.7 of the protocol additional to the Geneva Conventions, which specifically states; "The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favor or impede military operations"? This reinforces Art. 28 of the Fourth Geneva convention, which expressly states "The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations."

Sadly, in ignoring the regular, cynical and grossly illegal practice by Palestinian terrorists and Hezbollah of hiding behind civilians, and even launching their rockets from civilian houses, HRW fails to distinguish between cause and effect. Where have HRW investigators been while this inhumane practice has been deliberately used from day one in Jenin and Gaza?
How do HRW investigators manage to obtain information certain enough to permit them to condemn Israel, a state, struggling for its existence, when seasoned journalists admit difficulty in ascertaining facts in Hezbollah territory? For example, CNN's Nic Robertson admitted that Hezbollah controlled an anti-Israel piece he wrote and that in examining damaged buildings he was unable to "see if perhaps there was somebody there who was, you know, a taxi driver by day, and a Hezbollah fighter by night...." (http://newsbusters.org/node/6552)

Mr. Roth's reference to Qana is also subject to doubt. If HRW investigations are to be credible, they dare not ignore any shred of evidence, even evidence produced by bloggers who have raised strong suspicions that the Qana tragedy may have been staged by Hezbollah. More so since the exposure by bloggers of Dan Rather's story on 60 minutes and the admission by Reuters that photos have been doctored. I am not claiming that the accusations are accurate. I do state categorically that in a search for truth they cannot be ignored and must be investigated.  (See http://tinyurl.com/jljdb)

There are other aspects which cannot be ignored if one is determined to ascertain the facts. It was reported that the roof of the building was intact when first viewed. Journalist Ben Wedeman of CNN noted that there was a large crater next to the building, but observed that the building appeared not to have collapsed as a result of the Israeli strike.

There were also widespread reports that civilians were unable to flee Qana due to destruction of bridges and roads. In the circumstances one wonders how HRW investigators journalists and rescue teams had no problem getting there in droves.
It is sad and disappointing that HRW has not raised strong criticism of Hezbollah's violation of every humanitarian law in cruelly withholding any shred of information about the kidnapped soldiers. The deliberate cruelty inflicted on the families is beyond comprehension. Is it too much to expect HRW to demand that the captives be visited by the Red Cross and be permitted to telephone their families in the presence of neutral parties?
In a recent article in the Jerusalem Post Mr. Roth accused Israel of indiscriminate bombardment. With respect, I suggest that a more realistic understanding of 'Indiscriminate bombardment" would have been achieved if HRW investigators had taken the trouble to interview and even to participate in planning sessions with a number of  IAF pilots and an equal number of Hezbollah  missile launchers to ascertain the factors they take into consideration in selecting their targets. There can be no doubt who would be judged guilty of  "indiscriminate bombardment".

As Human Rights Watch is far too valuable a humanitarian instrument to be devalued by prejudice and bias, it is essential that it weigh evidence more carefully to ensure that reports are fair and balanced

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