Fred Abrahams, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch’s Emergencies Program, tells Democracy Now! that Israel must answer serious allegations against its soldiers murdering innocent Palestinians holding white flags during the recent war:
Well, the main criticism from the Israeli government of our report is attacking the methodology. And, you know, this is the same methodology we use all around the world, not just in Israel and Palestine. And it works. It relies on on-site visits and looking at ballistics evidence. We saw shell casings and ammunition boxes, tank tracks—excuse me.
And the key issue is the witnesses. They claim that you can’t trust a Palestinian witness. Now, you know, these are not one-off, quick interviews. These are almost deposition-like interviews that go on for many hours, sometimes revisited, at least three individuals separately for each attack.
And I really want to debunk the notion that these Palestinians won’t talk about Hamas. They will, and I know it, because I personally researched and wrote a report about Hamas violations against other Gazans. This is kneecappings, executions, disappearances against mostly Fatah members and supporters, but not exclusively. And what was the main source of our information for that report? It was Palestinian witnesses, and they spoke about it. They talked about how their relatives were taken away and are missing.
And so, it’s just untrue that Gaza is a homogenous terrorist den. There is a wide spectrum of views. As the incidents last week show, there was a battle between Hamas and a more extreme Islamist element that’s in Gaza. So you have a variety of views, and people will talk about Hamas.