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Did IDF Kill 12 Surrendering Palestinians?

Report says yes, though author has anti-Israel background

Michael Weiss
August 17, 2009

A month after Atlantic correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg got Human Rights Watch’s executive director, Ken Roth, to admit that, yes, the organization does use its ostentatious antagonism of Israel and Israel’s defenders in the United States to raise money in Saudi Arabia, comes more scandalizing background about the organization’s behind-the-scenes biases. Joe Stork, the deputy director of HRW’s Middle East and North Africa programs, has lately accused the IDF of murdering 12 Palestinians while they waved white flags during the Gaza War. Noah Pollak, a Commentary blogger, today points us to a Hebrew-language article in Ma’ariv, which notes that Stork’s appraisal of war crimes might be colored by his own radical politics. While a student in the 1970s, Stork was an ultra-left-wing activist, in favor of the elimination of the “imperialist entity” Israel and no stranger to Zionism-equals-racism confabs organized by Saddam Hussein. He also referred to the Black September massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics as an action that “cannot create or substitute for a mass revolutionary movement” but at least “provided an important boost in morale among Palestinians in the camps.”

According to the HRW report, titled “White Flag Deaths,” IDF soldiers fired on a convoy of unarmed civilians waving white flags. “All available evidence,” the report’s introduction reads, “indicates that Israeli forces had control of the areas in question, no fighting was taking place there at the time, and Palestinian fighters were not hiding among the civilians who were shot.” HRW has called upon the Israeli government to investigate these allegations; in response, the IDF has said that its soldiers are ordered not to fire on anyone waving white flags, but that Hamas militants often used civilians draped in them as subterfuge. While HRW does seem to have a penchant for hiring people with feverish ideological backgrounds, the charges are serious enough to warrant investigation.

Who Is Human Rights Watch’s Joe Stork? [Commentary translation of Ma’ariv article]
Previously: Human Rights Watch Goes to Saudi Arabia
White Flag Deaths [Human Rights Watch]