Al-Haq, a Ramallah-based NGO, presents itself to the world as a genuine human rights organization. And this is how it is received by ideological allies among UN officials, diplomats, and journalists.
However, as repeatedly demonstrated by NGO Monitor, Al-Haq is a leader in the demonization campaigns and political war against Israel. Under the façade of human rights and international law, the NGO promotes blatant rank antisemitism, BDS, and lawfare. Al-Haq is designated as a terrorist entity by Israel citing its ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group. This faction participated in the brutal October 7 slaughter and is reportedly holding Israeli hostages.
If there were any doubts, they should have been dispelled in the wake of Al Haq’s activities following the brutal Hamas attack of October 7. Many of its officials have made comments appearing to support Palestinian terrorists and violence against Israeli civilians – including under the slogan of “a right of resistance.”
Furthermore, in contrast to a credible human rights NGO, the failure of Al-Haq to condemn Hamas’ murder, torture, rape, hostage-taking, and dismembering corpses stands out. Instead, on October 8, it co-signed a statement describing one of the most egregious atrocities in the past 30 years as “Palestinian armed groups engaged in an operation in response to escalating Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people” and “urge[d] the international community to take immediate and urgent action to stop Israel’s revenge and reprisal.”
The role of Al-Haq’s funder-enablers must also be considered. Since 2020, Al-Haq has received funding from Sweden, Germany, the European Union, Denmark, and Norway. This funding has persisted despite publicly-available evidence attesting to the NGO’s links to the PFLP and the Israeli designation.
(See NGO Monitor’s website for more information on Al-Haq’s activities and funding.)
Terror as “Resistance”
Since the October 7 massacre, Al-Haq has used the rhetoric of “resistance” and “resistance fighters” – code for targeting any and all Israelis, including civilians. Furthermore, some Al-Haq officials have been explicit in defending and supporting terrorism.
On October 12, Al-Haq was a signatory on a joint statement justifying the attacks, claiming, “the criminal acts committed by the Israeli military constitute prohibited collective punishment as they target Palestinian innocent civilians for prior acts attributed to Hamas. …Hamas and other Palestinian resistance movements are the product of Israel’s aggressive occupation that started in 1967, in breach of the UN Charter, an unlawful use of force that continues today.” (emphases added). On October 30, Head of Legal Research and Advocacy Susan Power tweeted, “There is an international law right to resist, and peoples under colonial domination, have the right to resist as outlined in numerous resolutions, protocols etc. Legally this is not an issue. All acts of resistance must comply with rules of IHL. But still int’l right to resist” (emphasis added).
Many social media posts by Al-Haq’s Head of the Training and Capacity Building Unit Ziad Hmaidan celebrated the attacks and called for people to join in the resistance. On October 11, Hmaidan posted on Facebook, “Anyone who would watch the carnage; And remain silent; Partner in it!!” (translated from the original Arabic). On October 10, Hmaidan wrote on Facebook, “It is written in the Hadith: ‘You must wage jihad. The best jihad is preparing for war, and it is best to prepare for war in Ashkelon’” (emphasis added). On October 9, Hmaidan posted on Facebook, “To Palestine alone we give everything, until it is pleased. And for what the world wants – may it go to hell.” On October 9, Hmaidan shared a picture on Facebook of a Palestinian terrorist Ibrahim Nabulsi aiming a gun, and wrote, “A message of intense love. The picture of one of the men of the ‘flood’ [referring to the name ‘the flood of Al-Aqsa’ given by Hamas to the murderous October 7 attacks], during a confrontation in one of the [Israeli] bases that was stormed [by Palestinian terrorists]. This picture carries a thousand signs and meanings. Observe the picture that the sniper of the flood stuck on his rifle. Do you recognize who is in the picture? This is the intense love is for Ibrahim [Nabulsi].”
Al-Haq Legal Researcher and Advocacy Officer Aseel Al-Bajeh also tweeted in support of resistance against Israel. On October 12, Al-Bajeh tweeted, “We don’t need to speak of our right to resist, for it is not a right, but a way of being & survival for Palestinians. We don’t demand our right to narrate. Our ability to narrate was never out of our hands & resistance doesn’t need the pre- approval of static int’l law codes. Its not ‘our duty to expose the bloody barbarism of zionism, their actions as a fascist state & a ruthless army are more than sufficient to undertake this task. We remain attached to our land & in our humanity, as Pal Arabs no need to prove our humanity to those who have lost it” (emphases added). On October 10, Al-Haq Legal Researcher and Advocacy Officer Ahmed Abofoul tweeted, “It is outrageous to call on Palestinian resistance (permitted by international law) to CEASE its attacks while asking the occupying power ONLY to respect IHL.” On October 7, Al-Bajeh tweeted by quoting Hamas head Ismail Haniyeh, “Leave our land, get out of our faces.”
Additionally, on December 3, Abofoul criticized the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, for “refer[ing] to Palestinian armed (resistance) groups as ‘terror organisations’, not only the Rome Statute does not recognise ‘terrorism’ as a crime, but the context of this situation is a struggle for self-determination against settler colonialism, occupation and apartheid.”
Al-Haq has also issued numerous statements accusing Israel of genocide and ethnic cleansing. In fact, of 117 tweets by Al-Haq and key officials since October 7, 63 (54%) mention “genocide” and/or “ethnic cleansing.”
On November 20, Legal Researcher and Advocacy Officer Abofoul was quoted by the Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency: “Israel has killed more in Gaza than in the genocide of Bosnian Muslims by Serbs. This is genocide. It must be stopped now… These are a series of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including starvation, forced displacement, ethnic cleansing, and torture. This is another Nakba happening before our eyes, showing frequent and serious signs of genocide… History will not forgive those who normalize and rationalize Israel’s crimes against children” (emphases added).
On October 23, Al Haq, Al Mezan, and Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) sent a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk calling on him to “strongly condemn the ongoing war crimes, crimes against humanity and intent to commit and incitement to acts of genocide against the Palestinian people perpetrated by Israeli authorities in the occupied Gaza Strip” (emphasis added). The letter also claimed, “Israel’s dehumanisation of the Palestinian people, to maintain Israeli Jewish domination over the Palestinian people, amounts to inhumane acts within the meaning of the Apartheid Convention…”
On October 21, Legal Researcher and Advocacy Officer Al-Bajeh published an article in Tribune (UK), accusing Israel of a “massacre being carried out against the 2.3 million Palestinians” and “attacks are not against Hamas, but against the Palestinian people as a whole.” She claimed that “ Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza is an opportunity for settlers to ‘eradicate’ Palestinians.” Referring to Israel’s “so-called ‘right to self-defence’,” Al-Bajeh blamed “Western governments” and “mainstream media” for “greenlighting Israel’s genocidal war” by not discussing “the reality of the ongoing massacres in the wider context of apartheid, occupation and colonisation” (emphases added).
On October 16, Susan Power tweeted, “Not a thought… it is the PLAN. Everyone knows this. We are witnessing the final phase of the Gaza Nakba in real time. The ultimate land grab. Cheered on by the International community, as Palestinians are killed and ethnically cleansed for thieves to move in and settle” (emphasis added).
For decades, Al-Haq has pursued an agenda of targeting Israel, Israelis, and companies that do business in Israel with internationally-imposed sanctions and prosecution. Accordingly, Al-Haq is exploiting the 2023 war in Gaza as another opportunity to advance these anti-Israel tactics.
As part of its BDS campaign, Al-Haq called for arms embargoes against Israel. On November 8, Al-Haq was a signatory on a statement urging states to issue a “Two-Way Arms Embargo on Israel,” demanding that “The US, the UK, Germany, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands and other States that authorise the continued transfer of arms, and other forms of military support to Israel to immediately bring an end to such transfers…and immediately halt the provision of any materiel, equipment or other commodity that may foreseeably be used in the commission of serious international law violations including international crimes.”
On November 15, Head of Legal Research and Advocacy Susan Power tweeted, “Santion (sic) Israel now, genocide must be sanctioned!,” and on November 9, she tweeted, “Israel is carrying out a full scale genocide of the Palestinian people in Gaza, and preparing the territory for total colonisation in full view of the international community. Third States must intervene immediately with countermeasures and sanctions.” On October 28, Power also tweeted, “By isolating Israel and putting a total embargo, we can stop the international crimes against the Palestinian people.”
On October 18, Al-Haq and Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) sent a letter to the UK Secretary of State for International Trade Kemi Badenoch “threat[ing] legal action” if the UK does not “suspend all weapons export licences to Israel.” According to Al-Haq’s Head of Center for Applied International Law Wesam Ahmad, “Colonialism and corporations have historically been intertwined….If the UK is ever going to break from its legacy of colonialism it cannot continue to support the ongoing colonization of Palestine.”
Al-Haq also supported motions to ban goods from Israeli businesses. On November 6, Al-Haq sent letters to members of the Norwegian parliament to support a resolution which includes a motion to “ban goods and services from companies that operate in occupied territories.” On November 13, Al-Haq, alongside Al Mezan and PCHR, “welcome[d] the introduction of a bill in the Belgian Parliament proposing a ban on the importation of Israeli products produced in the occupied Palestinian territories.” On October 19, Susan Power tweeted, “Ireland needs to take action. Adopt #OccupiedTerritoriesBill. Divest Irish Strategic Investment Fund from companies fueling illegal settlement enterprise. Recognise #Apartheid as root cause, call for repeal discriminatory laws and practices. Condemn Israeli calls to Genocide.”
Erasing Hamas Use of Hospitals for Terror
Al-Haq denied the abundance of evidence that Hamas systematically exploited Al-Shifa Hospital and other medical centers in Gaza for command and control centers, terror tunnels, weapons storage, hiding kidnapped hostages, and murdering kidnapped hostages.
On November 15, Ahmed Abofoul tweeted, “This is pathetic. Israel scandalously lied about the Hamas command centre in Al-Shifa Hospital. Israel is Pathologically lying, those who want to pretend or claim to seriously believe its nonsense are not only complicit in its crimes but also responsible for them. #GazaGenocide” (emphases added).
On November 2, 2023, Al-Haq published a joint statement, “Gaza Hospitals Are Collapsing and Can Be Targeted Anytime: The International Community Must Intervene and Stop More Israeli Massacres of Palestinian Civilians.” In it, the NGOs alleged that “the spokesperson for the Israeli army incited for the targeting of the Al-Shifa Hospital. The pretext for this claim is the alleged presence of tunnels beneath it, a claim repeatedly made by Israel that has not been substantiated with any reliable evidence.” The NGOs also claimed that this was “a prelude to justify the potential targeting of the hospital, as seen in previous incidents, potentially leading to thousands of civilian casualties.”
Al-Haq also used the aftermath of October 7 to lobby the International Criminal Court (ICC). Of
On November 8, Al-Haq, Al Mezan, and PCHR “filed a lawsuit” with the ICC, urging it to investigate Israel for “apartheid” and “genocide,” as well as demanding arrest warrants for Israeli leaders for “for genocide and incitement to genocide.”
On October 12, 2023, Al-Haq, Al Mezan, and PCHR issued a report calling upon the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to “investigate Israeli crimes, in accordance with the Rome Statute, in particular the indiscriminate targeting of civilian homes and the killing of entire families, and to prosecute and hold accountable every individual who has carried out or ordered the commission of such crimes.” On October 20, Al-Haq was a signatory on a letter to ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan to “Issue Arrest Warrants, Investigate Israeli Crimes and Intervene to Deter Incitement to Commit Genocide in Gaza.”
On November 15, Al-Haq, Al Mezan, and PCHR sent a letter to members of the Irish parliament to “Support the Sinn Féin Motion to Refer the Situation in Palestine to the International Criminal Court, as an Important Protective Measure.” According to the letter, “We are now facing an unfolding genocide in Palestine… There must be accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide… We call on Ireland to protect the International Criminal Court as the only accountability mechanism where Palestinian victims can seek justice for international crimes” (emphases added).
On November 12, Susan Power tweeted, “Arrest Netanyahu and halt the Gaza genocide.”