Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights
|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”|
- According to Al Mezan’s website, “2016 Core Programme Donors” include: Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands), Norway, Medico International (Germany), Open Society Foundations, Sigrid Rausing Trust (UK), and Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO- Netherlands). “Project Donors” in 2016 include: European Commission, Diakonia, Norwegian Refugee Council, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and UNDP.
- Al Mezan does not publish annual income or funding amounts, reflecting a lack of transparency.
- According to information released by donors, Al Mezan received a core funding grant of $635,000 (2014-2017) from the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat. It also received a grant of NOK 2,000,000 (2015-2016) from Norway.
- 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.)
- Al Mezan participates in “CRG-Palestine,” a project (2015-2018) funded by Norway (NOK 4.4 million) that focuses on “the monitoring of child rights including improving state capacity to monitor and report to the UN Committe on the Rights of the Child.” The project is implemented with six other partners including Ma’an News Agency and Defense for Children International-Palestine.
- 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.
- 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.”
- On April 17, 2017, Al Mezan, as a member of the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC), released a statement on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day stating that “This year marks 50 years of torture of Palestinian political prisoners through a military system which has historically been endemic and various forms of physical and psychological torture and ill-treatment,” and calling on the International Criminal Court to “open an investigation into the case of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, and bring those who have tortured, extrajudicially executed, forcibly transferred, and arbitrary (sic) detained Palestinians to be held to accountable.”
- 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.
- In November 2016, Al Mezan co-authored a submission to UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in the Palestinian Territories Michael Lynk on “Human Rights Defenders in the OPT…highlight[ing] the repressive environment within which human rights defenders (HRDs) work in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” The submission referred to Manal Tamimi, a fieldworker for the Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC), as a “human rights defender.”
- Tamimi frequently utilizes antisemitic and violent rhetoric and imagery on social media. In August 2015, Tamimi tweeted, “I do hate Israel, i (sic) wish a thrid Intefada (sic) coming soon and people rais (sic) up and kills all these zionist settlers everywhere.”
- In June 2015, Al-Mezan, alongside Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) and Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR), released “No More Impunity: Gaza’s Health Sector Under Attack.” The publication was characterized by one-sided accounts, a total lack of verifiable sources, and lack of context. In addition, Al-Mezan and its partners erased the terror affiliation of three “paramedics” and “medical volunteers” who were killed in an Israeli strike.
- 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.
- In January 2015, Al Mezan is listed as having provided “Fieldwork and research coordination” for a report by Physicians for Human Rights -Israel titled “Gaza, 2014: Findings of an Independent medical fact-finding mission,” alleging Israeli violations of human rights and international legal norms during the 2014 Gaza War.
- The report provides no proof or evidence for the serious charges contained within it. The report contains fundamental methodological flaws, ignores Hamas violations, and relies on “experts” that have demonstrated anti-Israel biases.
- As a member of the Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council (PHROC), Al Mezan referred to the resignation of William Schabas as the head of the UN inquiry into the 2014 Gaza war as a “charade put up by Israel” and “condemn[ed] in the strongest terms Israel’s latest and unfortunately far too common attempt to obstruct the work of the international human rights and justice mechanisms in investigating Israeli violations of international law against the Palestinian population.” In fact, the resignation followed revelations that Schabas had previously done legal work for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) – a clear conflict of interest that would have disqualified him from the beginning if it had been disclosed. Furthermore, Schabas’ record of anti-Israel biases includes repeated calls for prosecuting Israeli officials for alleged “war crimes” at the International Criminal Court.
- 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.
- At a June 2017 CERIPP 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 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.
Allegations of ‘war crimes’
- Utilizes highly biased and politicized rhetoric accusing Israel of “massacres,” “slaughtering civilians,” “scandalous war crimes,” and “despicable disregard to civilian life.”
- During the 2014 Gaza war, Al Mezan, together with the other members of PHROC, submitted a letter to the EU accusing Israel of “blatant violations of international law,” “indiscriminately and disproportionally killing Palestinian civilians,” and “evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity.” The letter urges the EU “to resort to all operational measures at its disposal with a view of bringing Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law to an end.”
- As a member of the PHROC, submitted a July 16, 2014 “Open Letter to UN Secretary-General on Hostilities in the Gaza Strip,” accusing Israel of “collective punishment,” “ongoing indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks against Palestinian civilians and civilian objects in the Gaza Strip” and “intentionally target[ing] Palestinian civilians and homes.”
- In a November 28, 2013 press release, together with Palestinian NGOs Al-Dameer, Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) and Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Al-Mezan accused Israel of “systematic policies against the civilian population” and “human rights violations perpetrated by Israeli occupation forces… as a form of collective punishment.
- 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).
- Signed (together with Addameer, Badil, Palestinian Center for Democracy & Conflict Resolution, and Union of Agriculture Work Committees [UAWC]) on a Joint Call to Action: July 2014 – Month against the Apartheid Wall stating: “….it is time for a ‘legal intifada’, an intensified popular struggle and more boycotts, divestment and sanctions….We ask you to expand and deepen the global BDS movement for justice…”
- 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.
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