#154 Ezreal, Dutch; B'tselem is most credible - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • Ben Gurion
    • 06.11.05 | 18:42 (IST)

    Dear Haaretz, This is the THIRD time I am submitting this posting. It contains no foul language, no holocaust denial, and no attack on any Talkback people. There is no reason to censor this posting. If there is a word you don't understand, please let me know. I will be glad to explain. BG --------------------------- Hello Ezreal, I wouldn't want such a misrepresentation by CAMERA against the stellar reputation of B'tselem remain on the Web without a reply. B'tselem is a great Israeli human rights organization. They see their mission as recording, and bringing to light human rights violations against the Palestinians, so that Israelis would have to face and confront the consequences of the Occupation. B'tselem is not in the propaganda business. CAMERA, on the other hand, is by definition a propagandist and apologist organization. Israel, right or wrong, should look right. Their complaint against B'tselem sounded suspicious to me, and I looked into it. CAMERA actually has a problem with Rashid Khalidi who claimed that most Palestinian casualties in the second intifada were "civilians", presumably non-combatants. (I haven't read Khalidi's article itself. Let me take CAMERA's description of it as a fact, for now.) Could Khalidi have gotten this information from B'tselem, or even derived it from B'tselem's information? This is not possible. B'tselem DOES NOT have separate categories of civilian and non-civilian Palestinian killed. B'tselem also DOES NOT have separate categories for combatant and non-combatant Palestinian killed. B'tselem only separates between "Palestinian killed by Israeli security forces" and "Palestinian killed by Israeli civilians". For Israelis killed, B'tselem distinguishes between civilians and security personnel, but not for Palestinian dead. Why is that? Virtually all Palestinian killed are "civilians", i.e., they don't work for the PA security services. So such a separation for the Pals is irrelevant. But why should B'tselem not distinguish between "Combatants" and "non-combatant" Palestinians? The reason is that many times there are opposing claims between the IDF and Palestinian sources on the ground. The IDF tends to claim more "combatants", while people on the ground tend to call many casualties "innocent passersby". B'tselem can't determine the truth and thus simply does not use separate classifications. The conclusion is that CAMERA accuses B'tselem falsely. They should accuse Khalidi alone (if he is really guilty). B'tselem has nothing to do with this CAMERA libel. P.S. People interested in some numbers of Palestinian "combatants" and "non-combatants" killed, should look for information elsewhere. As mentioned by CAMERA, the Israeli Anti Terrorism Institute (www.ict.org.il) makes such distinctions. However, the ICT collects such data from all over the world without having people on the ground to verify the numbers independently. I assume the number they use for the Territories are IDF numbers. This may be satisfactory to many, although Palestinians like Rashidi would prefer Palestinian sources. We all have to be careful with the sources for the data we use.

    from the article: On the same page, ten years on
    First published 00:00 04.11.05 | Last updated 00:00 04.11.05
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