Thursday, September 14, 2006

Finally Balance! Amnesty International says Hezbollah Guilty of War Crimes

When Amnesty International came out last month with a report indicating that Israel was guilty of targeting civilian infrastructure, I was infuriated by the lack of balance in their reporting. It’s not to say that Israel didn’t target civilian infrastructure, because they did; but these actions do not exist in a vacuum, and to condemn Israel for them while not citing Hezbollah’s bombing of civilian populations is just ludicrous.  

Well today, Amnesty International righted that wrong.

Today, AI accused Hezbollah of “serious violations of humanitarian law, amounting to war crimes” for the 4,000+ missiles fired into civilian populations during the latest conflict in South Lebanon.  While Hezbollah argued that these missiles were reprisals for Israeli attacks into Lebanon, Amnesty rejected this claim out of hand, indicating that whether or not Israel violated international law in no way absolves Hezbollah of their crimes.

"The fact that Israel in its attacks in Lebanon also committed violations of international humanitarian law amounting to war crimes, including indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, is not an acceptable justification for Hizbullah violating the rules of war, whether as a deterrent or as a means of retaliation or retribution," the report said.

Amnesty’s secretary-general, Irene Khan, elaborated:

“The scale of Hezbollah’s attacks on Israeli cities, towns and villages, the indiscriminate nature of the weapons used and statements from the leadership confirming their intent to target civilians make it all too clear that Hezbollah violated the laws of war,” she said. “The fact that Israel has also committed serious violations in no way justifies violations by Hezbollah. Civilians must not be made to pay the price for unlawful conduct on either side.”

In my opinion, every conflict has at least two sides to it, and the conflict in South Lebanon is no exception. I feel bad for the hardships which the Lebanese people were forced to endure, and feel that Israel, in many ways, must accept responsibility for their actions there, even though they were fighting for Israeli survival. The struggle to exist does not exonerate Israel, nor does it free them from blame for their targeting the infrastructure of Lebanon, so recently rebuilt after the Lebanese civil war.

However, Hezbollah’s actions are equally liable.  I may believe they are more liable, as they were aggressive, rather than defensive, but then I hold a bias.  Either way, if one is to hold Israel responsible for its part in the war, one also must hold Hezbollah responsible for its part in the war, which includes deliberately attacking civilians with missiles filled with ball bearings, to maximize bodily damage.  For my part, I’m glad Amnesty is beginning to see both sides!

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Posted by Scottage at 10:55 AM / | |