Europe Floods Israel’s Courts to Manipulate Democracy
European-backed NGOs are flooding Israel’s courts with cases in an attempt to circumvent the democratic process to change Israeli policies while bypassing diplomatic channels in an unprecedented manner, new research by NGO Monitor reveals.
The UK, EU, and Norway provide millions of dollars annually to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) for massive and unheard-of political campaigns that exploit Israel’s legal system. In sharp contrast to NRC’s ostensibly humanitarian agenda, this program focuses on some of the most complex and sensitive political issues in the Arab-Israeli context.
Since 2009, the NRC has opened thousands of cases in Israel’s judicial system in support of efforts to “legally challenge through public interest cases” laws and practices to which it objects. Israel’s High Court noted that one such case, funded by the UK, was asking to undermine Israeli-Palestinian agreements such as the Oslo Accords.
NGO Monitor founder and president Professor Gerald Steinberg stated, “NRC’s intensive involvement in the Israeli legal system, if carried out directly by its governmental donors, would be considered an unacceptable violation of international norms, including the principle of national sovereignty. No other country in the world is subject to this kind of legal manipulation.”
In 2018, NRC’s flagship legal program is aiming to pursue “5,399 opened and continuing cases for legal assistance in the West Bank (West Bank 1162 new and 4237 continuing)” as well as 10 cases to be submitted to the UN and/or other international mechanisms.
NRC works closely with the Palestinian Authority in coordinating its advocacy campaigns, in violation of the principle of neutrality in humanitarian aid.
From 2016-2017, the EU provided approximately $9.6 million, the UK provided approximately $5 million, and Norway provided approximately $6.3 million for NRC’s legal activity.
Donor governments and the NRC are highly secretive about their attempts to influence Israel’s internal affairs through the courts. The UK’s Department for International Development has repeatedly rejected Freedom of Information Requests regarding coordination with NRC, though they have acknowledged that NRC maintains a “low visibility policy” so as to avoid jeopardizing their legal status in Israel.
For the full report see here (https://www.ngo-monitor.org/reports/flooding-the-courts/).