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The European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), the international affiliate of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), on Monday blasted the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for biased comments accusing Israel of war crimes in its effort to defend its civilian population from attacks by Hamas terrorists while failing to acknowledge the deadly terrorist tactics used by Hamas that clearly violate international law.
"It is deeply disturbing that the International Red Cross, which should be an objective relief organization, is engaging in an unbalanced and biased campaign to smear Israel," says Jay Sekulow, who serves as chief counsel of the ECLJ as well as the ACLJ.
"While insinuating that Israel is committing war crimes as it protects its civilian population under attack by Hamas terrorists, the Red Cross is turning a blind eye to the deadly terrorist tactics used by Hamas—using its own population as human shields—in clearly violation of international law," Sekulow continues. "We are urging the Red Cross to rely on the facts and the truth in reporting what is taking place in the Gaza conflict.
"Israel should be commended, not vilified, for its efforts to carry out its obligations under international law in the face of a determined, fanatical, unprincipled foe, which intentionally and indiscriminately attacks Israeli civilians and uses its own civilian population as human shields."
The ECLJ is an international, non-governmental organization, dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights and to the furtherance of the rule of law in international affairs. The ECLJ has held Special Consultative Status before the United Nations/ECOSOC since 2007.
In a detailed letter sent to Yves Daccord, director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland, the ECLJ argues that international law recognizes Israel's inherent right of self-defense in protecting its civilian population from Hamas terror attacks. At the same time, the ECLJ contends that attacking a legitimate military target is not a war crime and argues that Israel is complying with international law—taking the necessary precautions before striking a military target near civilians.
The ECLJ argues the Red Cross is ignoring Israel's lawful response to terrorism and ignoring the fact that Hamas terrorists are engaging in a systematic campaign to target civilians that violates international law.
The ECLJ says Hamas is violating international law and committing war crimes by engaging in the following tactics:
- By intentionally placing its weapons caches, firing sites and military headquarters in civilian areas, Hamas is solely responsible for incidental harm to civilians that occurs when Israel must deal with such sites.
- Using places of worship for military purposes.
- Using schools for military purposes.
- Using civilian neighborhoods for military purposes.
- Using hospitals for military purposes.
- Indiscriminate firing into Israel.
The ECLJ is urging the Red Cross to be balanced in its comments and "strongly and consistently address the unlawful actions taken by Hamas militants in firing its rockets indiscriminately, in using civilians as human shields, and in turning otherwise protected civilian sites into military targets, all in clear violation of the IHL (International Humanitarian Law)."
The ECLJ letter, posted here, concludes:
"We, therefore, respectfully urge ICRC officials to thoroughly examine what they say before they say it. We further urge the ICRC to examine the facts to determine which party in the Gaza conflict really seeks to comply with IHL and which does not. An objective, honest, evaluation will, we are confident, lead you to conclude that Israel is the only party seeking to meet the requirements of IHL."