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February 2, 2015 2:46 pm

Palestinian Fund Behind Hostile B’Tselem Report Against IDF Actions in Gaza

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IDF artillery in Gaza. Photo: IDF.

IDF artillery in Gaza. Photo: IDF.

A new report from a local pro-Israel NGO, Im Tirtzu (IMTI) charges that pro-Palestinian human rights monitor, B’Tselem, receives funding from a Ramallah-based group, the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat, which may have affiliations with terrorist groups, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

IMTI, in a letter seen by the The Algemeiner, called attention to what it said were “serious questions regarding the relationship between Israeli organizations and Palestinian funds that sponsor terrorism and Boycott Divestment and Sanctions as well as the enormous amount of European money that comes to them to portray Israel as a perpetrator of war crimes and to delegitimize Israel.”

A recent B’Tselem report entitled “Black Flag” alleges that the IDF perpetrated war crimes during the course of last summer’s 51-day Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, which was meant to end intense rocket fire into Israel, and destroy Hamas attack tunnels.

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In a letter to The Algemeiner on Monday, Israeli watchdog group NGO Monitor, characterized the Secretariat as “a European government framework set up by Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands,” and that “the evidence indicates that the Secretariat contributes to NGOs that may or may not be affiliated with terror groups.”

According to NGO Monitor, “The Palestinian involvement, via the Institute of Law at Birzeit University, is to participate in managing the funds (along with a European consultant firm).”

For its part, IMTI said it was concerned that “Israeli citizens and the international community who will read B’Tselem‘s report have a right to know that this report does not represent an objective investigation of truth with justice as its guiding principle, [but] rather this is the result of a political agenda and the negative attitude toward Israel. The investigation was biased from the start with a political agenda and negative attitude to distort the facts.

“Even during Operation Protective Edge, B’Tselem falsely accused the IDF and the State of Israel from all possible platforms both in Israel and on the world stage in order to create international pressure against Israel in spite of Israel’s valiant effort to act according to the law and avoid civilian casualties,” IMTI said.

IMTI said that, in the course of 2014, the Secretariat transferred more than $11 million to dozens of Israeli and Palestinian NGOs, including “to organizations with avowed relationships with prominent Arab terrorists, as well as two prominent Israeli NGOs, B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence, who focus on delegitimizing Israel through accusing the IDF of war crimes.”

Among the questionable funding decisions were transfers of:

  • $325,000 to the Addameer Organization, which has close ties with the terrorist organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and which boasts in its Internet site that it has direct contact with the terrorist Samar Abd’el Latif al-Barq, an Al-Qaida Global Jihad terrorist currently being held under arrest in Israel.
  • $710,000 to the Al Haq Organization, a leading organization in the BDS movement against the State of Israel, which is directed by Shawan Jabarin, a senior activist in the terrorist organization ‘Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,’ and is therefore prevented from receiving an exit visa from Israel to Jordan.
  • $300,000 to the Israeli delegitimization organization Breaking the Silence.

B’Tselem, in its report, cited Israeli officials whom they claimed “eschewed responsibility for the immense harm to civilians, placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of Hamas,” and quoted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said that Israel’s “security forces are doing everything in their power to avoid harming civilians and if innocents are hurt, it is because Hamas deliberately hides behind Palestinian civilians.”

While contending that such an argument was “unacceptable,” B’Tselem then went on to admit that “Hamas and other organizations operating in the Gaza Strip do not abide by [international humanitarian law – IHL], nor do they purport to do so.

“As B’Tselem stated both during and after the fighting, Hamas has breached these provisions, and particularly its duty to distinguish between civilian objects and military targets. Not only did Hamas fire at Israeli civilians and civilian targets, it did so from within the civilian population. Hamas operatives fired from sites located near civilian dwellings, concealed weapons and munitions inside them and dug tunnels under them.”

But according to B’Tselem, despite such egregious violations by Hamas of IHL, “It is clear that the policy described in this report is not a legitimate response to this challenge. Even if political and military leaders thought this policy would bring an end to attacks on Israeli communities, they should not have implemented it because of its foreseeable, horrifying consequences as well as because of the black flag of illegality flying over it.”

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