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

Published: March 1st 2010

Haroon Siddiqui


Btselem’s spokesperson, Sarit Michaeli, also doubted the logic and effectiveness of Btselem’s demand from Hamas to investigate crimes of his own people. In an interview with Israeli website Omedia (November 20, 2007), Michaeli describes such a demand as hallucinatory. “I know that this demand is hallucinatory, but we are obliged to ask it from those who are responsible for the violations”, she said. [6]


It seems that Btselem insists on raising “hallucinatory” demands from Hamas to investigate its war crimes, even though Btselem does not believe that the Hamas government is capable of conducting an “effective and independent investigation”. In addition to this paradox, Btselem refrains from insistently and clearly requesting an investigation into the Palestinian political echelon for its responsibility for war crimes. 


Unlike the lenient approach towards Hamas Btselem is strict with Israel and demanding the establishment of independent investigative committee


Btselem’s approach regarding suspicions of war crimes committed by Israel during Cast Lead operation is totally different. An official announcement, signed by nine Israel human rights organizations including Btselem, calls for the establishment of an “impartial investigative body which will conduct an independent and effective investigation.”


The announcement states the following:


“In light of the above, the organizations called on the Prime Minister to establish, without further delay, an impartial investigative body which will conduct an independent and effective investigation of incidents in which allegations have been raised that Israel violated the provisions of international law during Operation Cast Lead. In order that the investigation will be seen as credible, the organizations believe that a foreign expert on international humanitarian law should be a part of this process. The investigation should examine Israel’s conduct during Operation Cast Lead, including an examination of accountability on the political and command level. Likewise, the investigative body should be charged with preparing the legal groundwork for future military conduct.” [7]


Its own statements demonstrate the paradox deeply rooted in Btselem’s approach. Btselem argues that the Hamas terrorist government should investigate war crimes even though it cannot be trusted to conduct a reliable investigation. On the other hand, the government of the democratic State of Israel does not deserve confidence for launching an effective and impartial investigation and therefore it is essential to assemble an independent investigative committee which will include an international legal expert and will also probe the military and political high rank echelons.


Query sent to Btselem


The following query was sent on February 24, 2010 to Btselem’s executive director, Jessica Montell and Btselem’s spokesperson, Sarit Michaeli:

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