NGO’s and the south Lebanon Conflict
Another interesting false report of an Israeli war crime has popped up in the blogosphere. According to the ICRC, “on 23 July, at 11.15 pm in Cana, a village in southern Lebanon[, a]ccording to Lebanese Red Cross reports, two of its ambulances were struck by [Israeli] munitions, although both vehicles were clearly marked by the red cross emblem and flashing lights that were visible at a great distance …. As a result nine people including six Red Cross volunteers were wounded.”
A website named Zombietime, however, has collected the various photographs from the news reports. It is quite evident by the photographic evidence that the Lebanese Red Cross fabricated the reports, at least in part. As reported by Time magazine, the incident was reported by Qassem Shaalan, the transferor ambulance driver, who reported that “a missile punched through the roof of the vehicle and exploded inside.” Yet, the photographs show that the hole in the roof of the transferor ambulance was caused by the placement of ventilation covers that are placed on all Lebanese Red Cross ambulances. In addition, the ambulance in the photographs has clearly not been damaged by any explosion, missile or otherwise. Mr. Shaalan’s injuries also appear to be faked.
Needless to say, Human Rights Watch’s carefully investigated 51-page report catalogued this Israeli “war crime” too as an undisputed fact.
PS. A word on bias. Unlike HRW (and Professor Heller?), I am quite open about where my sympathies lie (Israel, if you haven’t guessed). I do not criticize Human Rights Watch for its its evident anti-Israel orientation per se; my criticism is that HRW (a) through incompetence or fabrication does not report the facts accurately and (b) pretends to be neutral when it is not. I am quite content to express my sympathies, have the facts presented accurately, and let the chips fall where they may, because I am quite confident in the strength of my case. It is a shame that HRW cannot do the same.