"Medecins Du Monde and Physicians for Human Rights - Israel: Report Denouncing Security Barrier Not Credible "
Medecins du Monde, a Paris-based ‘humanitarian medical NGO’ was the subject of an NGO Monitor analysis in August 2003. It was noted that this organization, commanding a €50 million budget, demonstrated an effort to provide understanding of the complexities of the Middle East conflict from both an Israeli and Palestinian perspective. However, Medecins du Monde has abandoned its motto ‘There are no right or wrong victims’, joining with the highly politicized Physicians for Human Rights – Israel and the Palestine Red Crescent Society to launch a campaign against Israel’s security barrier.
Timed to coincide with the publication of Medecins du Monde’s report "The Ultimate Barrier: Impact of the Wall on the Palestinian health care system", the three organizations held a joint press conference in Tel Aviv on 14 February 2005 to present their common position.
Their statement questions the legitimacy of Israel’s reasons for the construction of the security barrier, and uses the misleading term of "the Wall" (reminiscent of the "apartheid wall" used by many NGOs in the demonization campaigns). The report lacks credibility and fails to acknowledge the evidence that the security barrier has reduced terrorist attacks, and the need for such a barrier to defend the lives of Israeli citizens. Under the section entitled "Context", the MDM report offers a one-sided Palestinian narrative. For example, without any explanation as to the reasons why, the report claims that "the Wall deprives Palestinians of adequate access to basic services such as water and education, as well as sources of income such as agriculture and other forms of employment. The Wall has steadily added another layer of obstacles isolating, fragmenting and therefore weakening the already fragile Palestinian healthcare system."
The report continues in this one-sided vein through its methodology which involved the collection of 83 "testimonies in the field" in order to ""give voice" to the people who have no voice and who are faced with the Wall". Using the excuse of anonymity, these testimonies lack credibility, and cannot be verified.
The question of credibility also arises from the use of politicized NGOs as sources. The report quotes the Palestinian Environmental NGO Network (PENGON), composed of many members whose focus is primarily on attacking Israel. MDM also relies on the evidence of the highly ideological Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, whose reports lack credibility and focus on demonizing Israel.
Further highlighting the political objective of this activity, the three partner organizations "also firmly denounce all other factors and tactics of occupation which restrict the Palestinians’ right to live and move freely in the Palestinian territories. It violates both international human rights and international humanitarian law." Relying on the biased advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the security barrier, the criticism of Israeli measures to restrict Palestinian freedom of movement again ignores Palestinian terrorism. With the involvement of the Palestine Red Crescent Society, the report criticizes IDF searches of ambulances, ignoring the documented abuse of medical facilities and vehicles in Palestinian terror attacks. Another accusation leveled at Israel is that "By annexing the West Bank’s water resources and most fertile land and separating the Palestinians from their work in Israel, the Wall also reinforces unemployment and poverty". These claims are not backed by reliable evidence and are outside the claimed purview of the NGOs.
In summary, this report, and the activities of Medecins du Monde, partnered with PHR-I, reflects the abuse of medical issues and human rights in order to promote their anti-Israel political goals