Jerusalem – Abusing its mandate of neutrality and impartiality, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA-oPt) is responsible for coordinating a highly political and biased NGO network in the West Bank. New research by NGO Monitor shows that this official UN office is responsible for facilitating funding to and the dissemination of information from groups involved in political warfare against Israel, including those advancing anti-peace BDS.
“Coordinating with some of the most virulent NGOs in the region, OCHA promotes a one-sided narrative of Palestinian victimization and sole Israeli aggression,” Anne Herzberg of NGO Monitor said. “OCHA’s central role in anti-Israel political warfare is yet another example of the exploitation of human rights, international law, and humanitarian principles via UN bodies to attack the Jewish state.”
In 2016 alone, OCHA-oPt requested $571 million from international donors towards various causes. Among other things, the money was designated for highly biased NGOs, including: Islamic Relief Worldwide, which, in June 2014, was outlawed by Israel for its alleged role in funneling money to Hamas (a designated terror organization by Israel, the U.S., EU and Canada); the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, a leader of anti-Israel “lawfare” campaigns used to demonize Israel and harass Israeli officials; and the pro-BDS Ma’an Development Center.
UN OCHA also manages “Thematic Clusters” – for biased, political, radical NGOs to manipulate and circulate unconfirmed, false, and distorted statistics to the UN and media. For example, during the 2014 Gaza war, the OCHA “Protection Cluster” designated Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Al Mezan, and B’Tselem, to provide “data” regarding casualty statistics. These NGOs, which lack credible methodologies for analysis of casualty claims, appear to have been repeating information originating with Hamas officials in Gaza.
Another problematic cluster is the “Legal Taskforce,” chaired by the highly political Norwegian Refugee Council, responsible for coordinating legal responses by 14 Palestinian, Israeli, and international NGOs. Participating NGOs include Addameer, which advocates for Palestinian prisoners while altogether omitting the context of terror and whose chairperson Abdullatif Ghaith was banned from travelling internationally because of his alleged membership in the PFLP terror organization. A second NGO is JLAC, an organization promoting BDS campaigns and utilizing inflammatory, if not antisemitic rhetoric to demonize Israel.
NGO Monitor notes that OCHA’s politicization and bias go beyond Israel. For example, on December 29, 2015, it published a “2016 Syrian Arab Republic Humanitarian Response Plan.” According to media reports, after consulting the Syrian government, OCHA “altered dozens of passages and omitted pertinent information to paint the government of Bashar al-Assad in a more favorable light.”