NGOs Blame the Victims: A False “Massacre” in Jenin and “Legitimate Resistance” outside a Jerusalem Synagogue
On January 26, 2023, the IDF conducted a preemptive counterterror operation in Jenin, during which nine Palestinians – eight of whom were armed members of Islamic Jihad and other organizations – were killed. The Palestinian Authority, reviving the blood libel from Jenin in April 2002 (Defensive Shield), accused Israel of committing a “massacre” and Gaza-based terrorist organizations launched rockets at Israeli cities.
The next day (Friday night, January 27), a Palestinian murdered seven Israeli civilians outside a Jerusalem synagogue; a few hours later (Saturday morning, January 28) a 13 year-old Palestinian shot and wounded two Israelis in a separate incident in Jerusalem.
NGO responses to these incidents reflect an immoral agenda that stands in direct contradiction to the human rights mandate that they and their funder-enablers claim. Palestinian, Israeli, European, and international NGOs and their officials that commented on Jenin before the Sabbath terror attacks repeated the PA propaganda of a “massacre.”
Other NGOs appeared to justify the terror attacks in Jerusalem, or otherwise blamed Israel for the targeting of Israeli civilians. Even those groups that directly condemned the terror attacks simultaneously included condemnations of Israel. One NGO, the Rights Forum (Netherlands), bizarrely denied that the murder of Jews because they were Jews constituted antisemitism.
Importantly, several very vocal and active Israeli advocacy NGOs, including Adalah, B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, and Yesh Din, appear not to have issued statements.
NGO officials condoning the synagogue murders and other attacks on civilians
Al-Haq has received funding from the EU, France, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden
- Al-Haq legal advisor Isam Abdeen, who has served as an “advocacy officer” for the NGO, wrote on Facebook on January 27: “The shooting operation which was carried out by the son of the capital by himself in occupied Jerusalem is legitimate by international law, and there is no need for any justification, since it happened on ‘occupied land.’ It is in the world’s capability, instead of shamelessly condemning a legitimate operation according to international law, to put pressure on the Zionist entity to end its colonial occupation and the apartheid regime, which consists a crime against humanity under international law…” (emphasis added)
- Abdeen posted on Facebook on January 28: “Jenin and Jerusalem, and the difference between deception and resistance…What happened in Jenin is that a military unit of the Zionist entity…carried out a deception of killing and injuring Palestinians on Palestinian land…This systematic culture of deception constitutes a grave violation of laws and current norms of international armed conflicts…What happened in occupied Jerusalem is that a Jerusalemite young man from the sons of the capital, carried out, alone, a resistance action on Palestinian land (occupied Jerusalem), the land of his fathers and forefather, and this action is legitimate according to international humanitarian law and human rights law…What happened in occupied Jerusalem and other cities and villages…is called legitimate resistance under international law. It is taking an effective action in breaking ‘the economic feet’ of the prolonged Zionist colonial occupation…it is a legitimate and effective means to end the colonial occupation and expel the invading occupiers…” (emphasis added)
- Al-Haq legal researcher and advocacy officer Aseel Al-Bajeh tweeted on January 28: “More context: why are settlers allowed to be in occupied Jerusalem, a war crime that the world recognises?”
- On January 29, Al-Bajeh tweeted, “Forcing Palestinians to Defend their Right to Resist is Another Complicity with Israel’s Colonialism.”
Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)
UAWC has received funding from the EU, Norway, France, Canada, Spain
- On January 26, Moayyad Bsharat, UAWC Project Coordinator, shared a picture from the funeral of some of the terrorists killed in the Jenin firefight and wrote, “These are painful endings for us, but beautiful for them. To heaven [they go], the nine moons will light our night and our stray paths.”
- On January 27, 2023, shortly after the murderous attack outside the synagogue, Bsharat tweeted a number of Quranic verses:
- “Fight them and Allah will punish them at your hands, put them to shame, help you overcome them, and soothe the hearts of the believers”
- “Permission to fight back is hereby granted to those being fought, for they have been wronged. And Allah is truly Most Capable of helping them prevail”
- “So when you meet the disbelievers in battle, strike their necks until you have thoroughly subdued them, then bind them firmly. Later free them either as an act of grace or by ransom until the war comes to an end. So will it be. Had Allah willed, He Himself could have inflicted punishment on them. But He does this only to test some of you by means of others. And those who are martyred in the cause of Allah, He will never render their deeds void.”
7amleh has received funding from Switzerland, Norway, Germany
- Ahmed Qadi, Monitoring and Documentation coordinator at 7amleh, wrote on Facebook (January 27), “For decades, the Israeli criminal entity has been implementing the policy of the Iron wall, in the goal of… sowing seeds of despair and doubt in the effectiveness of resistance. Even until now, the Israeli war machine has not been able to see the truth – that every Israeli crime is met with greater determination for sacrifice, broader resistance and an untamed determination to victory.”
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)
PCHR has received funding from EU, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway
- Mkhaimar Abusada – deputy chair of PCHR’s board – was interviewed by Al-Mwatin: “…In light of the current tough and harsh political circumstances, which we are going through…it does not prevent the Palestinian people from taking revenge against the massacres that are occuring in Palestine…The national Palestinian struggle and fight shall not end, and the flame of Palestinian resistance shall not end, but continue as long as there is occupation, settlement and judaization.”
- On January 27, 2023, Abusada shared a televised interview broadcasted that day on Al-Ghad TV channel and wrote, “The rockets of the Palestinian resistance from Gaza is a message of ‘warning and threat’ to the Israeli occupation so that the latter stop the aggression against Jenin camp and the West Bank [in general]…” During the interview Abusada said, “The massacre that Israel carried out yesterday in Jenin camp, which caused the martyrdom of ten Palestinians, and the destruction that the Israeli occupation forces caused in Jenin camp and in all of the West Bank…The Palestinian factions wanted to send a clear message to the Israeli occupation that…it is not possible for the occupation forces to isolate the Jenin camp or our people in the West Bank….”
- On January 27, 2023, Abusada shared his televised interview with Al-Araby TV news, in which he said, “…We console ourselves and console our people for the large number of martyrs that fell today while defending Jenin camp and the brave Palestinian resistance in the West Bank…”
- On January 26, Nadia Abu Nahla – a member of PCHR’s board – posted on Facebook, “Oh, he who guides the blood vengeances, may you guide our blood vengeance.”
- On January 26, 2023, Abu Nahla shared a picture from the funeral of multiple terrorists who were killed during the Jenin firefight, and wrote, “Do not say that it is a massacre, tears and death. Say of it the features of strength and a reason to be proud in the face of time.”
Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution
PCDCR has received funding from the EU, Norway, Ireland, Spain, France
- On January 27, Iyad Abu Hjayer – deputy general director of PCDCR – wrote following the synagogue attack: “The arrogant #occupation cannot be educated, but by way of the martyr of Jerusalem. May Allah have mercy on you, oh you #commando_fighter, you have delivered a response and peace to our hearts after we have been hurt by Jenin.”
- In a second post he wrote, “I wish that our experienced organizations, even one, would volunteer and claim the martyr of Jerusalem. Let the occupation be worry. Simply put, this great mighty man is the son of #Palestine.”
PalVision has received funding from the EU, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland
- On January 26, PalVision project coordinator Amer Daraghma posted a video of the bodies of eight Palestinians killed in the IDF operation in Jenin, covered in Palestinian flags and flags of terrorist organizations. Referring to them he wrote, “Glory to the makers of glory.”
Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P)
DCI-P has received funding from the EU, Norway, Sweden
- On January 27, Miranda Cleland, DCI-P Advocacy and communications officer, tweeted that the IDF had carried out a “massacre in Jenin,” adding “The Israeli military’s brutality and cruelty is unmatched.”
Sharek Youth Forum Association
Sharek Youth Forum Association has received funding from the EU
- On January 26, Sharek Board Member Jawad Assi shared a picture of an Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades combatant killed in the Jenin firefight and mourned and praised him, “Sincere condolences to the dear friend, the general Yasin Salahat…for the martyrdom of his son- The martyr hero Izz a-Din Salahat, the son of the steadfast Jenin camp. Our warm condolences for the martyr’s family. May Allah have mercy on him and make his final resting place in heaven. Surely, we belong to Allah and verily to him do we return.”
NGO statements on the IDF operation in Jenin and the Jerusalem attacks
- In a January 27 statement, Al-Haq wrote, “The deadly military operation on Jenin Refugee Camp on 26 January 2023 is reminiscent of the infamous 2002 massacre in Jenin Refugee Camp and town during the second Intifada, when the IOF killed 52 Palestinians, demolished approximately 169 homes, displacing more than a quarter of the camp’s population, levelling and destroying the Camp with no accountability or reparations.”
- On January 26, Al-Haq tweeted, “As we have witnessed the horrifying brutal Israeli raid on #Jenin refugee camp, we remind the world that the 9 Palestinian lives taken today, could have been spared, if the world took action to end Israel’s settler-colonialism, apartheid & occupation & held Israel accountable. Israel’s prolonged, illegal occupation and its settler-colonial apartheid regime must not be allowed to continue. This reality, endured by the Palestinian people, must not remain to be the status quo. The Palestinian people deserves to live in freedom and in dignity.”
- On January 27, following the synagogue attack, Peace Now tweeted, “When chaos and arson are the agenda of a criminal government then innocent citizens pay the heaviest price. [We feel] Pain with the families of the victims. Gearing up tomorrow in [protest on] Kaplan [street] against the bloody government.”
- In a January 26 press release, Amnesty wrote: “Israel continues to enjoy total impunity for the system of apartheid it imposes on Palestinians – a system which is partly maintained through violations like unlawful killings. While Palestinian deaths mount, the international response to Israel’s violations consists of little more than timid condemnation at best, and unconditional support at worst. Today’s bloodshed is a reminder of the cost of this shameful inaction – until there is accountability, deadly attacks against Palestinians across the Occupied Palestinian Territories will continue.”
- In a January 28 twitter thread, Amnesty condemned the attack in Neve Ya’akov, but also blamed “apartheid” for the attacks against Israeli civilians, providing a measure of justification for terrorism. Amnesty’s tweets also deflected attention from Palestinian terrorism, seeking to stigmatize Israeli security operations in response to the killings, and treating all Palestinians killed by Israel as if they were innocent civilians, despite many being armed members of terrorist organizations: “We @amnesty are horrified by last night’s deadly attack on Israeli civilians in Neve Yaakov, a settlement in the occupied #WestBank, in which 7 people were killed and 3 wounded. Deliberately attacking civilians shows contempt for humanity & can never be justified…We are also extremely concerned about retaliatory measures against Palestinians. 30+ Palestinians have already been killed by Israeli forces in 2023, and last night there were further attacks and sweeping arrests…Incitement to attacks against civilians is pouring fuel on the fire that burns everyone. To protect civilians there must be meaningful accountability – including for the crime of apartheid. Impunity will lead to further bloodshed. @IntlCrimCourt.”
- In a January 28 statement, the Rights Forum wrote, “The attack in Jerusalem is rightly condemned from many quarters, including by the Dutch ambassador in Tel Aviv. Violence against civilians is in all cases reprehensible. However, the ambassador goes too far by speaking of an ‘anti-Semitic attack’. There is no indication whatsoever of an anti-Semitic motive, and in the current highly volatile climate in Israel/Palestine, such framing is irresponsible.”
World Council of Churches (WCC)
- In a January 28 statement, the WCC general secretary, Rev. Jerry Pillay wrote, “There is a particular horror in any such attack which takes place at a place of worship. I condemn this violence unequivocally, as I do all violence between the peoples and communities of this region which has seen so much bloodshed in the name of religion….We strongly condemn the indiscriminate attacks by Israeli military on the civilian population in Jenin. Without an end to the occupation, the cycle of violence will continue.”
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
- On January 30, FIDH retweeted a quote from a statement issued by multiple UN rapporteurs, saying “None of this violence would occur if Israel were to end its illegal, half-century old occupation immediately and unconditionally as required by international law.” The tweet continued, “#EndImpunity Support the ECI: https://stopsettlements.org,” referring to a European BDS initiative.
Miftah has received funding from the EU
- In a series of January 26th tweets, the head of MIFTAH’s board, Hanan Ashrawi, wrote:
- “A massacre is unfolding in Jenin. Israeli occupation forces have killed 4 Palestinians so far, including an elderly woman, while a bulldozer is wreaking havoc in the refugee camp and medical teams are being targeted. When will the international silence end?”
- “Deliberate cold-blooded murder. Horrific cruelty.”
- “The Israeli military assault on Jenin has claimed the lives of nine Palestinians including an older woman & wounded 20 four of whom are seriously injured. Stop the massacre & #IsraeliCrimes. @IntlCrimCourt Act Now.”
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)
- In a January 26 statement, JVP Executive Director Stefanie Fox wrote, “The Israeli government is slaughtering Palestinians every night, massacring people in their homes, schools, and hospitals. There are no sidelines. Jewish tradition commands action in the face of grave injustice, and the time to rise in solidarity with Palestinians is now.”
- In a January 27 statement titled “The Israeli Government is Inciting a New Phase of Violence,” JVP wrote, “On Thursday, the Israeli military launched an attack that killed ten Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp. In response, earlier today, there was a lethal attack near a synagogue in a settlement outside of Jerusalem by a Palestinian, where seven Jewish Israelis were killed. Already in 2023, the Israeli army has killed almost 30 Palestinians. This is the inevitable, horrifying, outcome of decades of Israeli apartheid….The Israeli government’s domination and oppression of Palestinians is the root cause of each of these senseless, tragic deaths.”
Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM)
- In a January 28 Facebook post, PYM wrote, “The PYM salutes the nine Palestinians martyred in Jenin yesterday during the occupation’s invasion of Jenin Refugee Camp, the largest massacre in Jenin since 2002 during the Second Intifada. We stand with our people in the camps, and affirm the right of the occupied to resist the colonizer by any means necessary. For every soul taken from us, our people’s determination to defeat the occupation only grows. Glory to all our martyrs!”
The Freedom Theatre
- In a January 26 statement, the NGO referred to the Israeli operation as “today’s massacre in Jenin Refugee Camp.”
- On January 31, 2023, the Freedom Theatre issued a statement by Rawand Arqawi, the executive director of Fragments Theatre, in which the latter eulogized several terrorists, and wrote, “Goodbye heroes, Abdallah Alhusari, Ahmed Alsadi, Omar Alsadi and Ezzdin Salhat. Thank you for the smiles that came from your hearts.”
- Abdallah Al-Husari was a member of the Islamic Jihad and was killed in a firefight with Israeli forces.
- Ahmed Al-Saadi was a senior member of the Islamic Jihad and was killed in a firefight with Israeli forces.
- Omar Al-Saadi was a senior combatant in the Islamic Jihad’s military wing in Jenin who was killed in the Jenin firefight.
- Salhat was an Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades combatant, who was killed in the Jenin firefight.