HRW: "At the sites visited by Human Rights Watch—Qana, Srifa, Tyre, and the southern suburbs of Beirut—on-site investigations did not identify any signs of military activity in the area attacked, such as trenches, destroyed rocket launchers, other military equipment, or dead or wounded fighters."
It apparently raised no eyebrows among HRW staff that of the fifteen "civilian" victims in Srifa it identifies in its report, all were men, and thirteen of them were of normal fighting age (17-35).
N.Y. Times, August 16th, 2006, at 9: "Mr. Kamaleldin, the Sreifa [same as Srifa] official, estimated that up to two-thirds of the town's homes and buildings were demolished, leaving more than 43 people buried in the rubble. A majority of them were fighters belonging to Hezbollah and the allied Amal Party, residents said."
Of course, Human Rights Watch claimed that its sources are credible, and even claimed that "[a]ll cases for which Human Rights Watch could not find eyewitnesses, survivors, or other credible sources of information have been excluded from this report." Right. I'm sure the "eyewitnesses" and "survivors" who stayed in Srifa during the war had no ties to the Party of God (Hezbollah), and no incentive to lie on its behalf.
HRW's report with the false information is still on its website. Any bets as to whether Kenneth Roth will issue a correction, and an apology?
Thanks to reader Larry Rothenberg for the tip.
UPDATE: Dershowitz at the Huffington Post has much more on HRW, concluding that it is repeating "demonstrably false conclusions."
*Here's the evidence that HRW had for Israel "indiscriminately" attacking civilians in Srifa: According to a villager who was in the village at the time of the attack:
There was no Hezbollah in the neighborhood. This neighborhood is known to be partial to the Communist Party, not Hezbollah. There are no Hezbollah people living there. Hezbollah does not have a need to be in this neighborhood, because we are 40 kilometers away from Israel, and the neighborhood looks out over the sea, it is not a strategic place.
Two additional villagers told Human Rights Watch in separate interviews that Hezbollah had not been present in the neighborhood around the time of the attack. "Except for one person, who didn't even belong to Hezbollah, no one in that neighborhood knew how to handle weapons," said Hussain Nazal. He added, "If they hit some houses that belong to Hezbollah we would understand, but this is not the [Hezbollah] neighborhood."
Apparently, HRW thinks it's okay to accuse a country of war crimes based solely on hearsay evidence of male "villagers", acquired while the war was ongoing, who are hanging out in a POG stronghold during an Israeli bombardment, after being warned to leave. Even if these villagers were not POG affiliates (but maybe they are) or even sympathizers, how do you think Hezbollah would have reacted if they had been quoted in an HRW report during the war as stating that Israel was only carefully targeting POG strongholds? I certainly wouldn't issue life insurance to them under such circumstances.