Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights
Al Mezan is highly active in anti-Israel lawfare campaigns, exploiting courts and international legal bodies to seek arrest warrants against Israeli government officials, file lawsuits against companies and governments doing business with Israel, and lobby for cases against Israelis at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
A number of Al-Mezan officials and employees are members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Hamas, terrorist organizations designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel. For more information on Al-Mezan’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Al Mezan Center For Human Rights’ Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”
|In their own words||Stated mission: “to promote respect and protection for all human rights; particularly ESCR [Economic, Social, Cultural Rights], in the Gaza Strip as part of OPT throughout research, legal intervention, advocacy and awareness”|
- Al Mezan does not publish on its website its annual income or funding amounts, reflecting a lack of transparency.
- Al Mezan donors include the European Union, Netherlands, Diakonia, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and Medico International (Germany). (See table below for further funding information.)
- In 2020-2024, Al-Mezan is an implementing partner on a $7.2 million project funded by Sweden via the NGO Development Center (NDC). Other partners include Al Haq, Defense for Children International – Palestine, BADIL, Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, Gisha, and Yesh Din. It is unclear how much each NGO is receiving.
- In 2017-2020, Al Mezan received €449,997 from the European Union via EIDHR for “Strengthening monitoring, protection and Rehabilitation of Civilians Victimized by, or at risk of, human rights and IHL Violations in Gaza with Relation to Access Restricted Area and Torture.”
- In 2020-2024, Al-Mezan is part of a $8.1 million “Human Rights Fund Programme” funded by Sweden via the NGO Development Center (NDC). Neither the NDC nor the Swedish government website provides the names of the NGO partners or the amounts received.
- In 2019, Al Mezan received $244,756 from the UN OCHA occupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund for “Monitoring and documentation of IHL and IHRL violations in the Gaza Strip.”
- In 2018, Al Mezan was an implementing partner for a project through the Norwegian Refugee Council for “Promoting and Protecting Women’s Housing, Land and Property Rights in The Gaza Strip.” Other implementing partners include Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Gisha, HaMoked, and the Palestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR).
- AMAN – the coalition for integrity and accountability, of which Al Mezan is a member, received €961,028 (2013-2017) from the Representative Office in Ramallah (Netherlands). (See below for further information on the Aman Coalition.)
- According to its website, Al Mezan “envision[s] a Palestinian free, sovereign society where all women, men and children enjoy the benefits of social justice, human rights, the merit of the rule of law and good governance fully and equally.”
- Consistently refers to the Israeli army as the Israel Occupation Forces (IOF), delegitimizing Israeli self-defense, and erases the context of Palestinian terror, Hamas’ use of human shields, and illegal rocket attacks against Israeli civilians.
Al Mezan’s Ties to Terrorism
- In October 2016, Al-Mezan CEO Issam Younis led a meeting hosted by the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) concerning Palestinian reconciliation. The meeting included representatives from several terror groups, such as senior Hamas official and spokesperson of the Hamas government Taher Al-Nunu and then-leader of the PFLP in Gaza Rabah Muhanna.
- On April 6, 2015, Al-Mezan organized a conference on the International Criminal Court (ICC), featuring speakers from terrorist groups including senior Hamas official Khalil Al-Hayya and Islamic Jihad political bureau member Khaled Al-Batash.
- On November 21, 2013, Al-Mezan organized the “Transitional Justice in Palestine” conference, featuring Hamas Legislative Council member Yahya Al-Abadseh, Islamic Jihad official Khaled Al-Batash, and PFLP Central Committee member Kayed Al-Ghoul.
- For more information on Al-Mezan’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Al Mezan Center For Human Rights’ Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”
Al Mezan Staff Ties to Terrorism
- A number of Al-Mezan board members, officials, and employees appear to have direct affiliations with Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist organizations.
- Nafiz Al-Madhoun, member of the Al-Mezan Board, serves as Director General of the Hamas–controlled Palestinian Legislative Council. A number of Arabic-language sources have referred to Al-Madhoun as a Hamas leader, or the head of Hamas’ parliamentary bloc in Gaza. Palestinian government sources have also noted his co-hosting of a September 2011 event for Gaza security personnel with Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri.
- In April 2019, Kamal El-Sharafi, Chairman of Al Mezan’s Board, participated in the memorial service for prominent PFLP figure Ali Darwish. The official PFLP website labels Darwish a “comrade, national leader and historical fighter,” who according to the PFLP, had been arrested by Israel and incarcerated 3 times, for a total of 20 years.
- On February 24, 2019, El-Sharafi paid condolences upon the death of a prominent PFLP figure, Maher Al-Yamani, who helped plan the hijacking of an Israeli plane in Greece in 1968 and served as the associate secretary of PFLP founder George Habash.
- On October 13, 2018, El- Sharafi participated in a memorial service for the PFLP’s Rafat Al-Najjar (“Abu Uthman”). The PFLP described Najjar as “one of the pioneers who took up arms through his membership in the first military apparatus of the PFLPin the Gaza Strip, and was one of the first fighters in the front and revolution who lived the experience of detention… and repeated arrests… A role model.” Sharafi also wrote a short obituary, “To you the solace and the glory… you will remain an eternal national symbol.”
- Jamil Sarhan, Al Mezan Treasurer, is part of the Democratic Union of Lawyers and Jurists, which the PFLP defines as a “PFLP union framework.”
- An August 2009 Palestinian Information Center article refers to Sarhan as a “member of the central committee of the PFLP.”
- Sarhan regularly shares PFLP posts and press releases on his personal Facebook page. On December 9, 2017, Sarhan shared a post concerning a PFLP rally in Gaza, which said; “first pictures of the PFLP march today, More than 100 thousand participants anger for Jerusalem. The blood is coming from Gaza.”
- In August 2016, Samir Zaqut, Director of Al Mezan’s Monitoring, Awareness and Documentation Unit, spoke at a rally in support of Bilal Kaid, a PFLP member, who was sentenced in 2002 to 14.5 years in prison by Israel for perpetrating and planning terrorist attacks.
- In October 2014, the official PFLP website referred to Zaqut as a “comrade” and detailed his participation in a PFLP-organized event, in solidarity with PFLP secretary general Ahmad Saadat and PFLP terrorist George Abdullah, who was convicted for his role in the 1982 murders of Israeli diplomat Yaakov Barsimantov and US Military Attaché Charles R. Ray.
- In May 2017, Hussein Hammad, North Gaza District Officer and Delegate to the Mobilization and Technical Assistance Unit, received an awardfrom a PFLP branch in honor of his receiving his M.A. According to the PFLP website, Abdullah Mheisan, joined “the PFLP at the beginning of the First Intifada and played a fundamental role in the uprising by resisting the occupation in all forms, and participated in many military operations that hurt the enemy, believing that armed struggle against the Zionist enemy is the shortest way to achieve victory.”
- In December 2018, Wa’el Mohammad Ahmad, Al Mezan’s accountant, posted a picture of himself with a PFLP flag, adding: “The revolution is strong as steel… red as embers… steadfast as an oak… deep as our brutal love for the nation” – Che Guevara. Happy anniversary to my brothers and comrades, long live our resistance and we will remain in the pledge of the martyrs.”
- Regularly describes Israel’s policies as “apartheid,” accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and “war crimes,” promotes the “nakba” narrative and refers to Israeli security measures as “collective punishment.”
- In November 2021, Al Mezan published a report titled “The Gaza Bantustan – Israeli Apartheid in the Gaza Strip.” The report called to “Allow for and facilitate the activation of universal jurisdiction mechanisms to prosecute the alleged perpetrators of Israel’s crime of apartheid and its associated violations,” as well as to “Consider imposing individual sanctions, such as travel bans or assets freezes, on suspected perpetrators of internationally recognized crimes and grave breaches.”
- In October 2021, Al Mezan was a signatory on a joint statement condemning the decision by the Israeli Ministry to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations. The statement called for “the international community, especially the European Union and its member states who are key supporters of and donors to Palestinian civil society, [to] ensure that banks and financial institutions in their jurisdiction are notified Israel’s designation of Palestinian organizations is unfounded and inapplicable.”
- In February 2021, Al Mezan published a report falsely claiming that Israel uses dams and floodgates to “redirect the flow of natural water away from the Gaza Strip,” and that when the dams are at risk of overflowing, Israel “open[s] their gates-without prior warning- resulting in sudden flows of water into Palestinian farmlands in the ARA, causing huge damages not only to crops but also to houses as well as other properties.” This claim has been proven demonstrably false. In 2015, Al Jazeera and Agence France Presse (AFP) were forced to retract stories that repeated the allegation after it became clear that there are no such dams in all of southern Israel that can be opened. A 2015 AFP news report shows that the “dam” in question is, in fact, a short step that is barely one meter high.
- In November 2021, Al Mezan accused Israel of “control[ing] rainwater, preventing its natural flow in the Gaza Strip. Ultimately, this has posed a risk to the plants and trees on the banks of Gaza’s valleys and has appeared to cause the migration of wild birds from these areas.”
- In February 2021, Al Mezan published a joint policy paper titled “United States Policy on Palestine: 2021 and Beyond” calling for the “US to reevaluate its past blanket support of Israel” and “end the decades long environment of impunity that it has enabled for Israel to entrench its settler colonization and apartheid in the Palestinian territory.” The policy calls to “ban the import of all Israeli settlement products and services” and “End all military aid to Israel.”
- In December 2020, Al Mezan, alongside a number of Israeli, Palestinian, and international organizations, issued a declaration headlined “Israel must provide necessary vaccines to Palestinian health care systems.” The NGOs falsely claim that Israel has “legal obligations” to “ensure that quality vaccines be provided to Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and control,” while altogether ignoring that Palestinians residing in Jerusalem are part of the Israeli health care system; that under the Oslo Accords the PA is responsible for health care of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza; and that the PA has adopted its own vaccine policy for its population.
- In November 2020, Al-Mezan published a press release falsely claiming that the IHRA definition “seeks to suppress activism and public speech promoting Palestinian freedoms and rights as well as critical assessments of Israel’s policies.” According to the press release, “These actions constitute not only an attack on Palestinians’ rights but also the rights of people and organisations in the US and worldwide that stand in solidarity with Palestinians.”
- The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, adopted by nearly 30 countries and counting, represents the international consensus definition of antisemitism, as well as how to distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israel and antisemitism. An example of the latter includes denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
- In June 2020, to mark “13 years since the start of the Gaza closure,” Al-Mezan, alongside Al-Haq, Medical Aid for Palestinians, and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), launched “an online resource and campaign for the lifting of the Gaza closure” calling for a “genuine solidarity movement that will allow us to create the political will and address the root causes of Palestinians’ rights deprivations in Gaza.” The campaign omitted that the blockade was implemented in an effort to stop Palestinian terrorists from smuggling of weapons and rockets into Gaza that would later be used to target Israeli civilians.
- In March 2020, Al Mezan, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights, and Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) published a report titled “Chronic Impunity: Gaza’s Health Sector Under Repeated Attack.” The report dealt with 2018 protests along the Israel-Gaza border, yet ignored and whitewashed the context of Hamas terrorism, repeated assaults on Israeli civilian communities, and attempts to sabotage the border fence and infiltrate into Israel to commit violence.
- The report also refers to Sajed Mizher, a 17-year-old Palestinian killed by the Israeli security forces, as a “first aid volunteer.” The NGOs neglect to mention that Mizher was a “comrade“ of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine(PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the U.S., EU, Canada, and Israel. Mizher’s funeral procession featured many individuals wearing military gear, PFLP paraphernalia, and PFLP banners. Mizher’s body was also adorned in PFLP paraphernalia. (For more details, see NGO Monitor’s blog “Palestinian NGO Medic Killed in Bethlehem Clashes Had Ties to PFLP Terror Group.”)
- On May 18, 2019, Al Mezan was a signatory on a statement referring to all of Jerusalem as “occupied,” and called for the UN to “take a firm stand against…unlawful unilateral measures to be taken by the U.S. in favor of an unveiled attempt at legitimizing Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise, occupation and colonization.” The statement further called to “Ban Israeli settlement products” and “Impose individual sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on individuals that are identified as responsible for or complicit in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
- In March 2019, Al Mezan published a statement to mark the one year anniversary of the violence on the Gaza border accusing Israel of “serious violations of international law in their response to the Palestinian protests, including by applying lethal and other excessive and unnecessary force.” Al Mezan ignored the violent nature of the protests, which have consisted of an organized armed attack on the Israeli border and IDF positions, attempts to destroy and breach the border fence, and sustained arson, rocket, and mortar attacks on Israeli civilian communities.
- In March 2017, Al Mezan and Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) held a side event at the UNHRC titled “Health Under Occupation,” placing blame on Israel for Palestinian health issues and entirely ignoring Hamas diversion of medical aid and the effects of intra-Palestinian infighting on the health sector in Gaza.
- Al Mezan’s highly unreliable statistics on civilian casualties and building demolitions were cited in the discredited Goldstone report, as well as the UNHRC Commission of Inquiry into the 2014 Gaza war. Al Mezan’s director has also “testified” before UN committees, “especially [about] the willful killing of civilians committed by the IOF [sic].” Al Mezan, together with a number of other highly biased and politicized NGOs also issued a statement repeating the Goldstone report’s highly inflammatory conclusions and called on states to “re-evaluate their relationship with Israel” because “normal relations [could] not be conducted with it.”
- During the 2014 Gaza War, Al Mezan was designated by UN-OCHA to provide casualty statistics. These statistics originated with the Hamas Ministry of Health, and many individuals identified by Al-Mezan and others as “civilians” killed during the conflict were actually found to be combatants and members of terror groups.
- Highly active in anti-Israel lawfare campaigns, exploiting courts and international legal bodies to seek arrest warrants against Israeli government officials, file lawsuits against companies and governments doing business with Israel, and lobby for cases against Israelis at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
- In 2009, Al Mezan partnered with Al Haq in an attempt to secure an arrest warrant against Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in the UK for “war crimes” allegedly committed during the 2009 Gaza War.
- On February 6, 2021, following the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I ruling that the Court has jurisdiction to investigate alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories, Al-Mezan, alongside Al-Haq and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), published a press release stating, “…it is imperative that the Prosecutor include acts of apartheid in the scope of her investigation…The decision confirmed the State of Palestine… as a full and legitimate State Party to the Rome Statute, and the entirety of the oPt as within the scope of territorial jurisdiction for investigation into international crimes…” (emphasis added). The organizations stressed that they will continue their “tireless” cooperation with the ICC, having submitted “six substantial communications and thousands of eyewitness files to the Office of the Prosecutor…”
- At a June 2017 CEIRPP conference, “United Nations Forum to Mark Fifty Years of Occupation,” Al Mezan International Advocacy Coordinator Nuriya Oswald remarked, “Al Mezan cooperates with the office of the prosecutor at the international criminal court and we also coordinate and work with the UN. We have cases in third states in Europe and we do exhaust all of the legal avenues available to us to achieve accountability and justice for Palestinians.”
- Conducts “legal training” courses emphasizing “the important role of lawyers in achieving justice and the need for lawyers to be knowledgeable in international humanitarian law and human rights law in order to be able to confront the flagrant violations committed in the context of the Israeli occupation.”
- Al Mezan has submitted various documents to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
- In March 2020, alongside Al-Haq, Al-Dameer, and Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Al-Mezan submitted an amicus brief “welcom[ing[ and support[ing] the findings of the Prosecutorthat there is a reasonable basis to believe that international crimes have been committed in the occupied Palestinian territory, comprising the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.”
- In December 2017, Al Mezan, Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Al Haq, and Al-Dameer submitted a document to the Prosecutor of the ICC examining “Israel’s inability and unwillingness to conduct effective investigations ” and called for “investigation into the serious international crimes committed during the July-August 2014 Israeli military offensive.”
- On September 20, 2017, these NGOs submitted a “substantive communication” to the Prosecutor of the ICC alleging that “high-level Israeli civilian and military officials have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem.”
- On November 22, 2016, the four NGOs delivered a submission to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, “Requesting Investigation and Prosecution of The Illegal Closure of the Gaza Strip.”
- In February 2016, the NGOs claim to have “provided evidence of the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity” and concluded that “high-ranking Israeli military and civilian officials committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during Operation Protective Edge.”
- On November 23, 2015, the four NGOs submitted a document claiming evidence and testimonies of alleged Israeli “war crimes” perpetrated during the 2014 Gaza war.
- In August 2021, Al Mezan signed a letter to the States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty calling to “put an end to Israel’s notorious use of arms and military equipment…by immediately imposing a comprehensive two-way arms embargo on Israel.” According to the letter, “This systematic brutality, perpetrated throughout the past seven decades of Israel’s colonialism, apartheid, pro-longed illegal belligerent occupation, persecution, and closure, is only possible because of the complicity of some governments and corporations around the world.”
- In July 2021, Al Mezan was a signatory on a letter to President Biden to “Halt Weapons Sales to Israel.”
- In May 2021, Al Mezan was a signatory on a statement calling to “Ban arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel,” “Suspend free-trade agreements with Israel,” and “Ensure that individuals and corporate actors responsible for war crimes/crimes against humanity in the context of Israel’s regime of illegal occupation and apartheid are brought to justice.”
- In 2020, Al Mezan has lobbied intensively in support of the discriminatory UN database of businesses operating across the 1949 Armistice line, aimed at bolstering BDS campaigns against Israel. Al Mezan has published numerous statements and letters to the UN calling to “make public the database of businesses illegally operating in and profiting from Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in and around occupied East Jerusalem” (emphases added).
- In July 2020, in response to the “Report of the Special Rapporteur addressing Israel’s Collective Punishment Policy,” Al-Mezan called on “Third States to adopt effective measures to put an end to Israel’s illegal and inhumane policies of collective punishment, including sanctions and countermeasures, to bring the illegal situation to an end” (emphasis added).
- In May 2020, Al-Mezan was a signatory on a statement calling for “Immediate targeted sanctions to stop Israel’s annexation and apartheid.” The statement further called for “A ban on arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel,” “Suspension of trade and cooperation agreements with Israel,” and “Investigation and prosecution of individuals and corporate actors responsible for war crimes/crimes against humanity in the context of Israel’s regime of illegal occupation and apartheid.”
- In February 2019, Al Mezan was a signatory on a letter to the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund calling to refrain from investing money in “Israel’s unlawful settlement enterprise.” According to the letter, “corporations may be complicit in aiding and abetting the destruction of property and forcible displacement of the Palestinian population, amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
- In February 2017, as a member of the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC), released a statement calling upon “the international community to abide by their international obligations” and “act immediately by imposing sanctions against Israel,” as a result of the passing of the “Regularization Law,” which is “another brazen tool for Israel to confiscate privately held and registered Palestinian property for its illegal settlement enterprise.”
- In October 2016, hosted a panel at the European Parliament on “ensuring accountability for violations of international law in the occupied Palestinian Territories and on the UN database of businesses operating in Israeli settlements.” According to Al Mezan, the “panel was held in the context of nearly 50 years of Israeli occupation of Palestine, a situation of international armed conflict, where violations of the applicable international humanitarian law and international human rights law are met with impunity by Israel, the Occupying Power.”
- In August 2016, submitted a joint complaint to the UN Special Rapporteur concerning review of the residency status of Omar Barghouti, a prominent proponent of BDS. The statement falsely describes BDS as “peacefully pursu[ing] a human rights agenda based on an international law framework”; in fact, BDS are tactics of political warfare, based on the exploitation of human rights double standards, comparisons to apartheid South Africa, and false accusations of “war crimes.”
- In February 2016, issued a joint statement that “For decades, Israel has failed to uphold its duties as Occupying Power and has instead deepened its occupation and regime of colonialism and apartheid” and “affirm[ed] the right of all individuals to participate in and advocate for boycott, divestment, and sanction actions, and calls on states and businesses to uphold their related legal responsibilities” and stated that the EU November 2015 labeling move against Israeli settlement products is “insufficient,” calling for a complete ban (emphasis added).
- Signatory to the 2005 “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS,” which calls for an end to Israel’s “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands” and promotes the right of “Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties.” These goals undermine the fundamental right of the Jewish people to self-determination and would effectually mean the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state.
- Al Mezan holds UN ECOSOC consultative status and is a member of the Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council (PHROC), Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN), the World Organization Against Torture, as well as a number of other organizations; utilizes these platforms to promote and disseminate demonizing statements against Israel.
- Al Mezan is member of the UNOCHA Protection Cluster’s Legal Task Force which coordinates legal responses by 14 Palestinian, Israeli, and international NGOs.
- Member of the “Displacement Work Group,” an initiative of Badil and OCHA to “monitor human rights violations (evictions, home demolitions, land confiscations) resulting in the displacement of people from their lands and communities,” along with: Addameer, Al-Haq, AIC, ARIJ, Badil, B’Tselem, BIMKOM, CARE Intnl., DCI – Palestine section, Diakonia, EAPPI, Ir Amim, ICAHD, Maan Development Ctr, Medical Aid for Palestinians, Oxfam UK, Oxfam Solidarite – Belgium, PA Govt. Spokesperson, PCHR, RHR, Society of St. Yves, Save the Children UK, Shatil, UNFPA, Stop the Wall, ACRI, UNFPA, WCLAC, World Vision, and Yesh Din.
- Al Mezan is a “Coalition Member” of the Aman Coalition.
- Aman accuses Israel of “stealing,” having “racist goals,” “Judaisation,” and “repeated attempts to ignite a sectarian religious conflict with the aim of controlling the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its precincts.”
- Al Mezan is a member of the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH). The FIDH, which is funded by multiple European governments, is a major leader of BDS campaigns worldwide. The group, composed of 178 member organizations, supported campaigns including the BDS campaign against Orange (2015), promoted the EU product labeling guidelines, and participated in the NGO campaign at the UN Human Rights Council to establish a Commission of Inquiry targeting Israel following the 2014 Gaza War.
2014-2020 Funding to Al Mezan
|Sweden||SEK 26,000,000 for a project with Al-Haq, BADIL, DCI-P, B'Tselem, Breaking the Silence, Gisha and Yesh Din||2021|
|SEK 7,000,000 for a project with Al-Haq, BADIL, DCI-P, B'Tselem, Breaking the Silence, Gisha and Yesh Din||2020|
|Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat||$641,700||2014-2017|
|Save the Children Norway||NOK 1,165,269||2018|
|American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)||N/A||2016|
|Medical Aid for Palestinians||$10,000||2019|