The discovery of yet another terror tunnel running from Gaza into Israel should cause NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and their European government funders to reevaluate and terminate their campaigns against Israel’s policies towards Gaza. For years, Gisha (the main Israeli NGO opposing Israeli policy on Gaza), Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (HRW), and many other political advocacy NGOs have condemned Israel for maintaining stringent restrictions on construction materials and other goods entering Gaza.
These NGOs have repeatedly dismissed Israel’s security concerns about “dual-use” goods (materials that could be used for either civilian purposes or terror, i.e. cement [for tunnels] and metal pipes [for rockets]). They falsely labeled Israel’s Gaza policy “collective punishment” and claimed that the security rationale is merely a pretext. The NGO claims were then adopted by their European governments, which in turn added diplomatic pressure to the campaign against Israeli policy.
However, the tunnels into Israel undercut the NGO narrative. The tunnels, extremely complex engineering operations, were built with hundreds of tons of concrete and hours of labor that could have been used to build schools, medical facilities, and houses. Instead, the construction materials were diverted toward attempted terror attacks against Israel.
NGOs and other international organizations should conduct thorough audits of their own construction materials to verify that cement and equipment are entirely accounted for and used for their intended purpose, and implement security protocols to prevent further abuse. There is no basis to assume that international projects are immune from exploitation by Hamas and other terror groups, and the possibility that materials were diverted raises serious questions as to the oversight over these aid projects.
Since the discovery of these tunnels, however, no NGOs issued condemnations of Hamas or called for them to stop their attacks on Israeli civilians. Instead, they resumed the false claims of collective punishment. Gisha, for instance, alleged that Israel’s “decision to stop the transfer of construction materials was a response to the discovery of a tunnel…raises the specter of a punitive act.” HRW’s Ken Roth re-tweeted a tweet by Juan Cole, “Israelis again impose Collective punishment on Palestinians of Gaza.”
The NGOs responses continue to demonstrate their immoral advocacy. Instead of focusing on Israel, these NGOs should denounce Palestinian terrorism and the diversion of supplies for vital civilian projects to terrorist objectives.