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Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)

Profile

Country/TerritoryPalestinian Authority
Websitehttp://pchrgaza.org/en/
Founded1995, in Gaza City
In their own words“Dedicated to protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law, and upholding democratic principles in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

Funding

Activities

Political Warfare

  • Regularly describes Israel’s policies as “apartheid” and accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” “war crimes,” and the “Judaization of Jerusalem.”
  • During the Gaza war in December 2008 and January 2009, its anti-Israel campaigning included accusations of Israeli “war crimes,” “crimes against humanity,” “collective punishment,” “indiscriminate killing and continued systematic destruction of all the Palestinian institutions and civilian facilities in the Gaza Strip.”
  • On “resistance”: Regularly refers to indiscriminate attacks on Israeli civilians as “resistance” and rockets that fall short of their Israeli civilian targets and cause injuries to Palestinians as “misuse of weapons.” In 2008, PCHR “call[ed] …upon Palestinian resistance groups to be far away from [the Palestinian] civilian populated area when conducting military actions.”
  • After then-French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin referred to Hezbollah attacks as terrorism in 2000, PCHR compared this “legitimate Lebanese resistance against Israeli occupation in Lebanon” to “French resistance during the Nazi occupation.”
  • On March 15, 2010, condemned the rededication of the Hurva Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem as a “war crime,” and called on EU member states to boycott Israeli goods in protest. The Hurva Synagogue, built during the 1700s, was destroyed by Jordanian forces after they attacked and expelled the Jewish population of the Old City in 1948.
  • PCHR alleged that during the 2009 Gaza War “1,167 non-combatants (82.2%) and 252 resistance activists (17.8%)” were killed. The non-combatant figure is not credible and includes a large number of Hamas fighters. Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hamad acknowledged that 600-700 Hamas members were killed in the Gaza fighting.
  • Nizar Rayan, a senior Hamas military commander, and members of his family were killed in an IDF airstrike on January 1, 2009 during the offensive. Despite Rayan’s status and the weapons stockpile located at his home, PCHR classified Rayan as a “civilian,” called his death a “heinous crime” and demanded that its “perpetrators and their military and political leaders must be prosecuted.”
  • PCHR promotes the biased conclusions and recommendations of the UN Goldstone Report. Provided 75 minutes of testimony to the mission, and was quoted 50 times in the document.
  • Central player in the Arab League’s “Fact Finding” Mission to Gaza and “prepared the agenda for the mission and coordinated its meetings and field visits. It also provided technical assistance for the mission.” The mission was led by anti-Israel ideologue John Dugard and Gonzalo Boye, a Spanish attorney who was imprisoned for 10 years for his involvement in the kidnapping of a businessman by the Basque terror group, ETA, It’s mandate was to “investigate Israeli crimes and human rights violations” and to hold “Israel legally accountable for war crimes committed by Israeli Occupation Forces in Gaza.”  The report called for “the formation of a team of lawyers and legal experts to consider various options to prosecute Israelis accused of committing war crimes against the Palestinian people.”
  • Support for “lawfare”: Is a leader in the anti-Israel “lawfare” movement and has tried to have Israelis arrested in England, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, and New Zealand.  The group has filed for punitive damages against Israeli officials and companies doing business with Israel in the US.  All of PCHR’s cases have been dismissed in the preliminary stages.
  • PCHR lobbied against the revision of the UK’s “Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill 2010-11” (Universal Jurisdiction Law) aimed at preventing abuse of the law, claiming “[t]he proposed change is a purely political move designed to block the arrest of war criminals, from ‘friendly countries’ in the UK. ”
  • Since the 2009 Gaza War, PCHR has lobbied ICC officials to prosecute Israelis for alleged “war crimes.”
  • On November 26, 2013, published the second installation of a report, “Through Women’s Eyes,” alleging gender-specific consequences of the November 2012 Gaza conflict and accusing Israel of “war crimes,” “direct targeting of civilians,” and “indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks.”
  • In a November 28, 2013 press release, together with Palestinian NGOs Al Dameer, Al-Mezan and Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), accused Israel of “systematic policies against the civilian population” and “human rights violations perpetrated by Israeli occupation forces… as a form of collective punishment.”
  • PCHR also criticizes the Palestinian Authority’s and Hamas’ violations against Palestinians (though not against Israelis).

PCHR Ties to the PFLP

Raji Sourani, founder and director of the PCHR, was “prohibited from leaving Palestine (sic) from 1977 to 1990.” In an interview, Sourani admitted that he served “a three-year sentence [1979-1982] imposed by an Israeli court which convicted him of membership in the illegal Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine…” Sourani was imprisoned an additional three times “in 1985 and 1986…” and held in administrative detention in 1988. From 1986 to 1987 he was “restricted from legal work for one year by an Israeli military decision issued by the Israeli Military Governor.” He was also denied a US entry visa and was thus unable to travel to participate in the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) in 20121. In February 2014, the PFLP organized a ceremony in Gaza honoring Sourani for winning the “Alternative Noble Prize.” Dr. Rabah Muhana, a member of the PFLP Political Bureau, delivered a speech at the prize ceremony.

Footnotes

  1. Founded in 2009, the Russel Tribunal on Palestine is a kangaroo court that uses a legal façade to create an image of neutrality and credibility, and to accuse Israel of apartheid, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

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