In theory, humanitarian aid organizations operating in areas of conflict, such as Syria, Afghanistan, or Gaza, provide goods and services to populations in need, and do not add to the suffering by becoming part of the conflict.
But for a number of Western aid NGOs (and most are Western), the temptation to join in the fray, to advocate for the groups that they see as victims, is irresistible. Accepting the myths and narratives of their “clients,” officials of aid organizations, much like those claiming human rights agendas, take sides, adding to the hate and suffering.
In Gaza, powerful aid groups have become international advocates for Hamas, while portraying Israelis as immoral ogres. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is a particularly powerful example, as reflected in their activities during the violent confrontations under the banner of the “Great March of Return.”
The NRC has a major political investment in the conflict, directing a number of campaigns targeting Israel and far removed from its ostensible objective of helping those “affected by, or threatened with, displacement.” In 2016, they spent $12.5 million on political projects including “legal advocacy” and “lobbying for policy change,” both through thousands of interventions in the Israeli justice system, and in ensuring “political interventions by the UN and Third Party States.”
As it has done repeatedly, NRC was quick to condemn Israel for the ongoing confrontations, through press statements, interviews, and social media posts. There is no criticism of Hamas for waging war against Israel instead of improving the lives of the people of Gaza, or for exploiting civilians, particularly children, as human shields.