The UN NGO Working Group on Israel/Palestine styles itself an "advocate for peace and justice in the [Middle East] region, based on Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 in addition to other relevant UN resolutions, with the goal of security and freedom for both an Israeli and a Palestinian state." It was established in New York in 1999, and a daughter organization, The Children’s Advocacy Platform (CAP) of the NGO Working Group on Israel/Palestine, was established in New York in January 2003. The Committee, chaired by the Reverend Jennifer Butler, Presbyterian Church USA Representative to the U.N., meets monthly to share information and to plan joint actions such as letters and visits to diplomats. The Group comprises faith based, humanitarian based, and policy based NGOs affiliated with the UN through ECOSOC, DPI, DPR, or AIDA; and includes Caritas Internationalis, Quaker United Nations Office, and World Vision. (For an in-depth analysis of Caritas Internationalis see NGO Monitor Vol. 1 No.2 ) CAP works, "to focus the advocacy efforts of NGOs working to improve the humanitarian and human rights situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories within the context of the United Nations;" and Working Group Members may take part in any of its activities or sign any of its statement on an opt in basis.
On June 23, this Working Group hosted a panel discussion "The Current State of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict to explore the Nature of the Roadmap, Developments in the Middle East Peace Process, and UN Involvement." The discussion was held at the Church Center for the UN in New York and targeted all NGOs, Mission representatives, and community members. Panelists included Alain Epp Weaver, Mennonite Central Committee Country Representative for Israel/Palestine; Nadia Hijab, author and human rights advocate, and Zachary Lockman, NY.U. Professor of Middle Eastern Studies and History and a contributing editor to the Middle East Report. B’nai B’rith attendee, Cynthia Reich, reported that the three panelists spoke a strongly biased message against Israel. (Official transcripts from the meeting are not available, providing another example of the absence of transparency and accountability in the NGO community.) The session was used to deliver political accusations regarding the Israeli "occupation," Israel’s alleged violation of the human rights of the Palestinians, and violations of international law. Throughout the meeting, no one provided an objective view or attempted to counter the imbalance, nor criticized any of the speakers for their presentations. In sum, the entire meeting was consistently one-sided, designed to criticize Israel and to take the Palestinian side on issues. This clearly goes against the committee’s own stated goal, and the purpose of the event.
The UN NGO Working Group on Israel/Palestine does not have an official website, however general information, such as on upcoming events, can be found on many of its member’s websites. The Group can be contacted at its headquarters at Presbyterian UN Office at 212-697-4568 or at firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com