In May 2020, Oxfam released a “briefing note” on “Violence and impunity in the West Bank during the COVID-19 pandemic.” In it, Oxfam claims to expose “The failure of Israeli authorities to prevent settler violence against Palestinians, and its contribution to de facto annexation of Palestinian land.”
In reality, Oxfam took pre-existing, misleading, distorted, outdated, and sloppy research, and artificially relabeled it “COVID-19 and annexation” in order to push a BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) agenda. On the title page, Oxfam acknowledges that the publication was prepared based on research conducted in December 2019, months before COVID-19 spread in Israel and the West Bank (to the degree that it did). To this, Oxfam added a handful of quotes and false statistics from UN-OCHA reports.
BDS is the goal
The recommendations highlight Oxfam’s ongoing support for BDS. In the concluding section, Oxfam calls for the international community to impose an arms embargo against Israel. This demand is followed by one to “Cease financial transfers and technical support for, and cooperation with, Israel and Israeli companies in the development of military technologies where there is a clear or overriding risk that they might be used in the commission of serious violations of IHL or IHRL, including acts of violence committed by settlers in an environment of impunity” – as alleged in the report. Similarly, the organization expects, at the very least, “third states” to apply “differentiation,” a code word for targeting Israelis and Israeli companies with BDS tactics.
Impunity for violence
Oxfam’s central thesis is that Israel’s judiciary fails to act when Israeli civilians attack Palestinians. The fact that a Jewish terrorist was convicted in Israeli District Court on the day before Oxfam published its report for the murder of members of the Dawabshe family in 2015, did not give the NGO pause.
Far more sinister is the manipulation of data surrounding acts of “settler violence.” In this publication, Oxfam claims that nine Palestinians and six Israelis were killed from January 2017-April 2020 as a result of “Attacks/trespasses by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank.” Scrutiny of the UN-OCHA database from which these figures are taken reveals that the six Israelis were all civilians murdered by Palestinian terrorists:
- Ari Fuld, stabbed to death on September 16, 2018
- Yotam Ovadia, stabbed to death on July 31, 2018
- Adiel Kolman, stabbed to death on March 18, 2018
- Yosef Salomon, Chaya Salomon, Elad Salomon, stabbed to death on July 21, 2017
Similarly, the list of Palestinian fatalities in this category includes the attackers responsible for perpetrating these murders.
Oxfam appears to have blindly copied material from an OCHA-oPt database that presents terrorists as victims and lists Israelis stabbed to death in their homes, out shopping, or waiting at bus stops, as fatalities of “settler violence.”
Additionally, Oxfam blames Israel for Palestinian ideological boycotts, claiming that acts of violence are underreported, in part, because “Many Palestinians believe that filing a complaint to the Israeli police would amount to ‘normalization’ – in this case, validation of Israel’s role as the de facto government in Area C.” No evidence is presented for this theory.
Oxfam quotes the executive director of the Palestinian Farmer’s Union, alleging, “This year only, cases were reported where wolves were released to scare farmers and harm grazing animals, as well as cases of actual abduction; Palestinian farmers being held hostage within Israeli settlements.” The report provides no further documentation or corroboration to support these accusations.
Oxfam has identified “settler violence” as a convenient vehicle for their latest BDS effort, attaching “COVID-19” and “annexation” in an attempt to achieve relevance and attention. The non-existence of evidence that would justify an arms embargo or suspending financial transfers betrays the fact that this issue is simply a pretext for Oxfam’s embrace and promotion of economic and political warfare against the Jewish State.