Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
- According to its website, “The Norwegian Refugee Council is an independent humanitarian organisation helping people forced to flee.”
- Operates in over 20 countries, with Head Office in Oslo.
- One of NRC’s principle projects in Israel, “Information, counseling, and legal assistance (ICLA),” exploits judicial frameworks to manipulate Israeli policy, bypassing democratic frameworks. NRC’s legal projects and funded mainly by Norway, the European Union (EU), and the United Kingdom (UK).
- In 2014–2015, the EU provided $13,070,506; UK, $5,224,441; and Norway, $2,408,050.
- NRC’s partners, which “provided legal representation in court for 4,069 cases” from June 2009 until August 2014, include political NGOs Society of St Yves, JLAC, HaMoked, Yesh Din, Community Action Centre, Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), and Palestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR), as well as “private lawyer providing legal aid services.”
- In 2011-2013, NRC budgeted over $20 million for legal advocacy (lawfare), “Information, counselling, and legal assistance (ICLA),” including international delegitimization campaigns.
- A lawyer affiliated with the NRC program stated that the objective of these cases are an attempt to “try every possible legal measure to disrupt the Israeli judicial system… as many cases as possible are registered and that as many cases as possible are appealed to increase the workload of the courts and the Supreme Court to such an extent that there will be a blockage.” (emphasis added)
- Transfers funds to “local lawyers and NGOs to carry out legal counselling and represent cases in court.” Details on amounts channeled to specific NGOs are not provided by NRC or the government donors. This “low visibility policy” suggests a deliberate attempt to prevent public scrutiny and to avoid accountability vis-à-vis the Israeli democratic process.
- In statements during the 2014 Gaza conflict, NRC declared that “Israel’s military offensive” has resulted in “forced displacement,” “restricting the movement of civilians and the ability of humanitarian actors to carry out even the most basic life-saving activities.” The publications present Israel as the aggressor, omitting Hamas missile and tunnel attacks.
- Works with UNOCHA NGO Protection Cluster (which includes Al Mezan, PCHR, B’tselem, and others): “As part of the Protection Cluster, NRC co-chairs the Legal Taskforce in both the West Bank and Gaza. This brings together domestic legal aid NGOs and international stakeholders on a monthly basis to share legal information and co-ordinate legal assistance, research and court monitoring.”
NRC programs in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem
- In 2014–2015, NRC spent about $27 million (NOK 188 million) on projects in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The main donors were Norway, Sweden, EU, and the UK.
- NRC employs pro-BDS, anti-Israel activists to compose some of its reports on the region:
- Shir Hever authored the NRC report “The Economic impact of Displacement” (April 2015). Hever is an economic researcher at the Alternative Information Center, which accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” “apartheid-like discrimination,” of being a “settler colonialist… intransigent, racist and militarized… regime,” and implementing a “multi-tiered system of oppression.” Hever is a pro-BDS political activist, and accuses Israel of being “a colonialist regime, in which there’s apartheid.” He also participated in the 2010 London Session of the Russell Tribunal of Palestine.
- Diana Buttu authored a December 2015 NRC publication about “Restrictions on Residency Rights and Family Reunification in Occupied Palestine.” Buttu is the former spokesperson for the Negotiations Support Unit for the Palestinian Liberation Organization and was also involved in promoting the discredited advisory opinion against Israel’s security barrier at the International Court of Justice. Buttu has accused Israel of “war crimes,” “ethnically cleans[ing] 75% of the Palestinian population, ” “a massacre against Palestinian civilians,” and promotes BDS campaigns. She also participated in the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in New York (2012).
NRC Funding to Political NGOs
- A number of NGOs serve as NRC’s Implementing Partners, including: Jersualem Legal Aid Centre (JLAC), Society of St Yves, HaMoked, Community Action Centre, Yesh Din, Bimkom, Palestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR), Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), and Al-Mezan.
- Due to a lack of transparency, there is limited information regarding amounts disbursed to NRC’s implementing partners. Details on Israeli NGOs are available based on financial documents submitted by the recipients to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits. Details on Palestinian NGOs are based on independent research.
- HaMoked – (2012-2014: NIS 3,901,317). In 2015, NRC provided Hamoked with NIS 200,456 for “Protection of residency for Palestinians in East Jerusalem” and NIS 285,581 for “Protection of the freedom of movement for Palestinians.”
- Bimkom – (2012-2014 :NIS628,105). In 2015 Bimkom received NIS 40,180 for “Filing objections regarding planning in Area C.”
- Yesh Din – (2012-2014 :NIS1,904,763) In 2015 Yesh Din received NIS 735,493 for projects on Jerusalem, law enforcement, and land issues.
- Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC) – according to JLAC annual report, it received $527,284 from NRC in 2013 and $517,552 in 2014. NRC has renewed its two project agreements with JLAC entitled: ‘Legal Assistance for the protection of Palestinians Affected by Forced Displacement,’ and ‘Providing Legal Representation on House Demolition in East Jerusalem’” respectively. According to JLAC financial statements, NRC provided $22,396 (2013) and $15,205 (2014) for “High court expenses,” with most of the funds earmarked for “Salaries and staff related benefits.”
- Society of St Yves (amount unknown) – Accuses Israel of “discriminatory policies” and “breach[ing] international law,” and claims that “[Palestinian] land [is] swallowed up by the Israeli armed forces.”
- Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR – amount unknown) – Regularly accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” “war crimes,” and the “Judaization of Jerusalem;” 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.” Calls upon the international community to “bring suspected Israeli war criminals before justice” and “preparing all necessary information, documents and evidence for any future investigations that may be conducted by the International Criminal Court in crimes committed by Israel in the oPt.” On October 14, 2014, officials from PCHR met Secretary General of NRC Jan Egeland and “called for an international action to combat the impunity enjoyed by Israel.”
- Palestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR) – Refers to Palestinians as “victims of Gaza holocaust,” accuses Israel of “state terrorism,” and participates in discriminatory campaigns such as “Love in the Time of Apartheid Campaign: The Palestinian Campaign for Repealing Israel’s Racist Law Denying Family Reunification.” (JLAC and Society of St Yves also participated in that campaign.)
- Al-Mezan – Highly active in anti-Israel lawfare campaigns, exploiting courts and international legal bodies to seek arrest warrants against Israeli government officials; files lawsuits against companies and governments doing business with Israel, and lobbies for cases against Israelis at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
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