Watchdog: Palestinian Campaign to Prosecute Israel for ‘Crimes Against Humanity’ Funded by Europe
European funding is behind four Palestinian NGOs that submitted a document to the International Criminal Court (ICC) this week, purporting evidence of Israeli “war crimes” perpetrated during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, according to a report released by the watchdog organization NGO Monitor on Wednesday.
According to the report, the Palestinian groups in question — Al-Haq, Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Aldameer and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights – “are all leaders in anti-Israel activities, (including boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns), and this submission is part of the ongoing ‘lawfare’ campaign exploiting international institutions in general and the ICC in particular for anti-Israel campaigns. This tactic was adopted at the NGO Forum of the 2001 Durban Conference, and is an integral part of the Durban Strategy which seeks to demonize and delegitimize Israel.”
The report says that the aim of the “lawfare campaigns” is to “erase the context of Palestinian terrorism targeting Israeli civilians, and to obstruct Israeli attempts at defending against it.”
An example of the Israeli “war crimes and crimes against humanity” that a press release about the submission of the document to ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Monday provides is the testimony of a Gaza man who claims his house was attacked in an Israeli air strike while his family was sleeping. Two of the NGO’s assert that eight people were killed in the attack.
But, says NGO Monitor, “A cursory examination of this case shows that it is based on distortions and half-truths. A month after the incident, [a man killed] was acknowledged by Hamas as a ‘martyr’ and released a poster of him as a combatant, burying him [in] a Hamas headband.”
Each of the NGOs appealing to the ICC receives extensive direct and indirect funding from European governments, NGO Monitor said:
Al-Haq – “2014’s Partners” include: Bread for the World (Germany); Irish Aid (Ireland); Christian Aid (UK); Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Diakonia (Sweden), Federal Government of Belgium; Heinrich Boll Stiftung (Germany); ICCO (Netherlands); AECID (Spain); Human Rights and International Law Secretariat (joint government funding of Sweden Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands); UNDP; and Open Society Institute (US).
Al-Mezan – Donors include: Human Rights and International Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands); Norway; Medico International (Germany); Save the Children International; and the Open Society Foundations.
“Project Donors” include: EU; Human Rights and International Law Secretariat; Diakonia (Sweden); Heinrich Boll Foundation (Germany); Norwegian Refugee Council; Sigrid Rausing Trust (UK); Oxfam-GB; Save the Children; Open Society Foundation; UNDP; and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund.
Aldameer – Human Rights and International Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands). Further funding information is unavailable.
Palestinian Center for Human Rights – Donors include: the European Union; UN OCHA; Ireland; Denmark and Norway; NGO Development Center (joint funding from the governments of Switzerland, Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark); Open Society Foundations (US); Christian Aid (UK), Grassroots International (US); Kvina Till Kvina (Sweden); Al-Quds Association Malaga (Spain); Oxfam Novib (Netherlands); and Dan Church Aid (Denmark).
These governments, concludes the report, “irresponsibly fund and enable political campaigns with the sole purpose of demonizing Israel under a façade of human rights.”