On April 30, the Israeli Supreme Court held a hearing on two petitions from NGOs claiming that Israel’s responses to violence along the Gaza border are illegal and demanding that the Court prohibit the use of live ammunition by the IDF.
In a response filed with the Court, the Israeli government demonstrated that the six NGOs – Yesh Din, ACRI, Gisha, HaMoked, Adalah, and Al Mezan – are misrepresenting the situation along the border, misrepresenting the applicable international legal framework, and recommending steps that would actually result in more Palestinian casualties. In other words, the NGO network is once again inventing claims to bash Israel.
These NGOs receive significant funding from governments and large private foundations:
- Yesh Din is funded by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC – funding originating with UK, EU, and Norway), Oxfam Novib, the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (Secretariat), the EU, and Rockefeller Brothers Fund
- ACRI is funded by the EU, the Secretariat, Bread for the World – EED (Germany), Christian Aid (UK), and the Netherlands.
- Gisha is funded by the UK, Oxfam (UK), the Secretariat, Irish Aid (Ireland), Oxfam Novib (Netherlands), Trocaire (Ireland), Broederlijk Delen (Belgium), Oxfam (UK), UNDP, Germany, Finland, Diakonia, Switzerland, Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (Germany), and RBF.
- HaMoked is funded by the EU, NRC, Norway, the Secretariat, Finland, Oxfam-Novib (Netherlands), UNOCHA, and the Netherlands.
- Adalah is funded by Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (Switzerland), Bread for the World-EED (Germany), Broederlijk Delen (Belgium), EU, and the Secretariat.
- Al-Mezan is funded by the Secretariat, Norway, Medico International (Germany), Open Society Foundations, Sigrid Rausing Trust (UK), Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO-Netherlands), European Commission, Diakonia, Norwegian Refugee Council, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and UNDP.
Below are excerpts from the Israeli government’s response (translation by NGO Monitor, emphases in original):
5. “The factual basis of these petitions is, with all due respect, defective and lacking, both in terms of the content of the open-fire regulations and in terms of the nature and essence of the events under discussion, and is inconsistent with the actual situation. On this basis, the petitioners draw faulty legal conclusions, first and foremost with regards to classifying the events as supposedly “distinctly civil events”; however, as an examination of the actual situation shows, the events under discussion are part of the armed confrontation between a terror organization – Hamas – and Israel.”
6. “At the crux of the matter, open fire instructions given by the security forces in regards to the [border] barrier zone are consistent with Israeli law, international law, and rulings of the Honorable Court.”
13. The distance between the two parts of the barrier [along the Gaza border] changes according to the topographical circumstances and ranges between 20 and 80 meters only. As such, a Palestinian that [crosses the first part] will arrive within a few seconds to the iron fence that is in Israeli territory.
14. “Since its establishment, the barrier is designed to protect Israeli citizens and security forces from various threats, with an emphasis on infiltration of terrorists from Gaza into Israel. The barrier is located just hundreds of meters away from a number of Israeli towns and just dozens of meters away from IDF forces. Therefore, a breach poses, definitely from the riotous mob, a danger to both the citizens of Israel and to the soldiers.”
18a. In this context, it should be emphasized that due to vulnerabilities in the barrier and the security significance of a breakthrough by a hostile Palestinian mob, the threat of the breakthrough creates, at times, a tangible, proximate danger to the lives and bodily integrity of both civilians and soldiers. And if this threat [infiltration] were to be realized, eliminating the danger (which at this stage would become immediate) would necessitate the use of live ammunition on a larger scale.”
83. In this context, the respondents believe that the petitioners make light of the tangible, proximate, severe danger posed by rioting masses… The position of the respondents is that, the danger posed by a rioting mass of thousands of people is tens of times greater than that posed by a single person or a small group of people. Moreover, this danger becomes instantaneously immediate when the masses reach their target, and preventing [the danger] at this later stage will require, from a tactical perspective, large scale live fire which the respondents are trying to prevent.