Haroon Siddiqui, al-Haq and Btselem's Double Standards

Published: March 1st 2010

Haroon Siddiqui

After rejecting the “shameful” arguments of the Hamas government, Btselem calls the same Hamas government to take following measures:


“The Hamas government has the obligation to conduct an effective and independent investigation to investigate the claims that armed Palestinian groups who operated in the Gaza Strip during the operation attacked Israeli civilians, and to prosecute the persons responsible for violation of international humanitarian law. The Hamas government must also investigate the claims that these groups harmed and endangered the lives of Palestinians, and prosecute everyone responsible for those acts.” [3]


Such a demand is perplexing and incomprehensible. How can Btselem, while contending that Hamas government submitted a falsified and groundless response to the Goldstone Report, believe that the Hamas government is capable of conducting “an effective and independent investigation” of war crimes committed by its own people during Cast Lead Operation?


Btselem peculiar logic: Hamas should not be trusted and therefore Hamas has to investigate itself


The confusion regarding Btselem’s logic is even more intensified in light of an article recently published by Btselem’s executive director Jessica Montell. In her article for the Israeli newswire “walla” (January 27, 2010), Montell wrote the following (translated from Hebrew):


“Unfortunately, I have no illusions that Hamas will sincerely investigate the war crimes committed by its own people. I don’t have any expectations that Hamas will carry out its duty to bring to justice those who are responsible for launching rockets at the south of the country [Israel] and the severe damages in lives, souls and property, and thus without mentioning the armed operatives who opened fire from the vicinity of Palestinian civilians’ houses hoping that they would provide them protection from Israel’s retaliation.” [4]


Btselem’s executive director does not give Hamas credit conducting “an effective and independent investigation” in the future, and therefore the question remains: why does Btselem not demand the establishment of a Palestinian independent committee to probe violations of international humanitarian law and investigate the political echelon, including the Hamas government headed by Ismail Haniya?


In another article to the Lebanese “Daily Star” (February 27, 2009), Jessica Montell doubted the possibility of bringing Hamas war criminals to justice as demonstrated in the following excerpt:


“But how do we ensure accountability for Hamas’ war crimes in Gaza? What system, domestic or international, will investigate its crimes and hold it responsible? The answer is that there probably is none.” [5]


An independent and reliable legal system, according to Montell, does not exist in the Gaza Strip and no other legal system worldwide is capable of bring Hamas to justice and therefore, no sanctions are relevant to Hamas war criminals.  

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