Human Rights Watch contradicts Dershowitz

Sept. 1, 2006 at 4:27 PM
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 1 (UPI) -- The non-profit group Human Rights Watch says that lawyer Alan Dershowitz misrepresented its report on the conflict in Lebanon.

In an op-ed piece published in the Jerusalem Post that has been widely distributed on Web sites, Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor who has been involved in many high-profile cases, said that both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International demonize Israel, accusing its forces of war crimes while minimizing the actions of Hezbollah.

In a letter, Human Rights Watch program director Iain Levine said that the group's report on the conflict was fair to both sides. Specifically, he said the report described Hezbollah's practice of storing weapons and placing rocket launchers around civilian homes as "serious violations of the laws of war because they violate the duty to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties."

But he said Israel shares the blame for the high civilian death toll in Lebanon.

"Rather, the apparent cause of such a high civilian death toll is that the Israeli military, once it warned civilians to leave southern Lebanon, simply assumed the civilians left and thus stopped taking precautions to spare them," Levine wrote.

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