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European Funding for Palestinian NGO Submission to the International Criminal Court on Alleged Israeli War Crimes during 2014 Gaza Operation
- On, November 23, 2015 four European funded Palestinian NGOs, Al-Haq, Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Aldameer and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) submitted a document to Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) claiming evidence and testimonies of alleged Israeli “war crimes” perpetrated during the 2014 Gaza war (Operation Protective Edge).
- These four NGOs 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 “lawfare” campaigns of these NGOs seek to erase the context of Palestinian terrorism targeting Israeli civilians and to obstruct Israeli attempts at defending against it.
- Three of these NGOs are responsible for attempts to have Israeli officials, including Tzipi Livni, arrested in Europe for alleged “war crimes”, prompting the British and Spanish governments to amend their laws. Al Haq and PCHR have also filed several civil lawsuits in the UK, Canada, and the US against Israeli officials, the British government, and foreign companies, aimed at advancing BDS. All of these cases have been dismissed by the courts at the preliminary stages.
- Al Haq, al-Mezan, PCHR and Aldameer all receive extensive direct and indirect funding from European governments. These governments irresponsibly fund and enable political campaigns with the sole purpose of demonizing Israel under a façade of human rights.
- 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 Humanitarian 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 Humanitarian 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 Humanitarian 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 Humanitarian Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands). Further funding information is unavailable.
- PCHR – Donors include: the European Union, UN OCHA ($577,000 in 2014 for a Gaza “Crisis Appeal Request”), Ireland (EUR 80,000 in 2013), Denmark, and Norway, NGO Development Center (joint funding from the governments of Switzerland, Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark; $425,000 in 2010-2012), Open Society Foundations (US), Christian Aid (UK), Grassroots International (US), Kvina Till Kvina (Sweden), Al-Quds Association Malaga (Spain), Oxfam Novib (Netherlands), and DanChurchAid (Denmark).
- As an example of alleged Israeli “war crimes and crimes against humanity,” the press release accompanying the NGO submission highlighted the testimony of 57-year-old Bouthaineh Al Louh from Deir Al-Balah in the Gaza Strip, regarding an incident in which allegedly “Israel attacked our home in Deir al Balah whilst my family was fast asleep.” Al-Mezan and PCHR have each separately documented this incident stating that “eight people were killed.” An additional family member died later of her wounds. The NGOs make no mention of military activity in the area, nor do they acknowledge the presence of combatants.
- A cursory examination of this case shows that it is based on distortions and half-truths. A month after the incident, Mohammed Mustafa al-Louh (killed in the strike), was acknowledged by Hamas as a “martyr” and released a poster of him as a combatant, burying him wearing a Hamas headband.
- Al Haq’s director Shawan Jabarin, who personally submitted the document to the ICC prosecutor, has been accused of being a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group, and has been denied travel visas by both Jordan and Israel. He has been described by the Israeli Supreme Court as “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” human rights activist on the one hand, and terrorist activist on the other. Al-Haq has also recently been accused of “corruption” leading the NGO to request the Palestinian Authority audit its books to clear it of suspicion. This investigation is still pending.