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Monday, 17 August 2015

Amnesty defends senior official’s anti-Israel tweets

By Naomi Firsht, August 17, 2015
Amnesty International has defended their campaigns manager after the Israeli embassy complained about alleged anti-Israel tweets, saying the posts highlighted “the need for justice and accountability”.
Kristyan Benedict posted messages about the arson attack on a Palestinian home in the village of Douma in July, which resulted in two deaths.
One of the tweets read: “Palestinian baby burned to death in settler attack. They see their government getting away with murder every day.”
Mr Benedict also retweeted a post by Hamas relating to “Israel’s war crimes”.
Eitan Na’eh, charge d’affaires at the Israeli embassy, complained about the tweets to Amnesty UK director Kate Allen.
In response Fionna Smyth, Amnesty’s head of priority campaigns, said Mr Benedict’s tweet on the arson attack highlighted a “lack of accountability” over “settler violence” on the West Bank.
In a statement, she wrote: “Our work is focused on exposing human rights violations by all parties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and in working toward justice and accountability.
“Kristyan Benedict’s tweet concerning an Amnesty report on Rafah clearly conveyed a message about the need for justice and accountability, including through the International Criminal Court.
“Kristyan’s tweet on the dreadful killing of 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha referred to a past history of a lack of accountability over so-called “Price Tag” attacks and settler violence in the West Bank.
“We condemn human rights abuses committed by all parties, whether Hamas, by other armed Palestinian groups, or indeed Israeli forces.
“This year we’ve published a major report condemning Palestinian armed groups’ indiscriminate rocket and mortar attacks on civilian areas in Israel during the conflict last July and August, a report on how Hamas tortured and killed Palestinian ‘collaborators' during the conflict, and also a report on Israel’s attack on Rafah in July 2014.
“We have responded in writing to the Israeli embassy, making some of these points.”
● A report in Monday's The Times claimed Senior Amnesty official Yasmin Hussein had undeclared private links to Islamists.
Ms Hussein, the charity’s faith and human rights director, was claimed to have connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.
She denied the claim, and was reported as telling the charity that the alleged connections were purely circumstantial.

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