Paul de Rooij
Amnesty International has issued three reports on the Massacre in Gaza in 2014 — and given the scale of the destruction and the number of fatalities, any attempt to document the crimes committed should be welcomed. But these reports are problematic and raise questions about this organization in particular and the human rights industry more generally.
First some background: July 2014 marked the onset of the Israeli massacre in Gaza (I will dispense with the Israeli sugar-coated operation names). The Israeli army trained for this attack for several months before finding a pretext to attack Gaza, shattering an existing ceasefire; this was the third such post-“disengagement” (2004) attack, and possibly the worst so far.
At least 2,215 were killed and 10,000+ wounded, most of them civilians. The scale of destruction was staggering: tens of thousands of houses rendered uninhabitable; several high-rise buildings struck by huge American-supplied bombs; schools and hospitals targeted; 61 mosques totally destroyed; water purification and sewage treatment plants damaged; Gaza’s main flour mill bombed; all chicken farms ravaged; an incalculable devastation.
Israeli control over Gaza has been in place for decades; with violence escalating over time, and the people of Gaza have been under siege for the last eight years. Israelis have placedGaza “on a diet,” permitting only a trickle of strictly controlled goods to enter Gaza, enough to keep the population above starvation. Gaza is surrounded on all sides, blocked off from the outside world: military bulldozers raze border areas, snipers injure farmers, and warships menace or destroy fishing boats with gunfire.
Periodically Israelis engage in what they term “mowing the lawn” massacres and large-scale destruction. It is this history that must serve as the foundation of any report that attempts to describe both the intent of the participating parties and the relative consequences.