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  • Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, and the Netherlands jointly fund numerous Israeli and Palestinian NGOs through the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (the “IHL Secretariat”). This mechanism has a projected budget of $17.6 million over four years, including $13 million for NGOs (plus “emergency allocations” following the 2014 Gaza war). The budget is managed by the Ramallah-based Institute of Law at Birzeit University (IoL-BZU) and a Swedish consulting company, NIRAS.
  • According to the IHL Secretariat’s website, the “overall objective of the programme” is to “contribute to the effective realization of adherence to human rights and international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and to influence the behavior of the relevant duty bearers….”
  • Much of this funding is provided to NGOs involved in BDS, lawfare (allegations of “war crimes” against Israel), and other forms of political warfare.

2015: Jerusalem-focused funding

The IHL Secretariat’s project funding cycle for September 2015 to August 2016 focuses on Jerusalem, claiming that “increased pressures on the Palestinian population of occupied East Jerusalem during the past few months have made it necessary for the Secretariat to further emphasize East Jerusalem… out of 20 approved proposals, 14 proposals came from Jerusalem, nearly three quarters.” (emphasis original)

NGOs and projects receiving funds include:

  • Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (CCPRJ) – $50,000 – “Revisiting international law on population transfer: a project promoting accountability for settler implantation and forcible displacement of Palestinians.” ($50,000 in previous cycle “To empower Palestinian civil society stakeholders in education in occupied East Jerusalem .…to play an effective role in combating De-Palestinization and protecting and promoting Palestinian culture and identity in East Jerusalem education.”)
  • PalVision – $85,320 – “Hakakom: your right”
    • Promotes a 1948 agenda, BDS (boycotts, divestments and sanctions) campaigns, and utilizes highly demonizing rhetoric.
    • Regularly accuses Israel of “Judaization”; refers to Israel as “1948 lands” or “Palestine 1948,” and to cities in Israel as “1948 occupied cities”; labels the security barrier as the “Apartheid Wall.”
    • Falsely claims that the Mamilla shopping center is “built over [an] Islamic cemetery” and that Givat Shaul “is a settlement that ate the lands and bodies of the Deir Yasin Martyrs.”
    • Organized a 2014 “Jerusalemite Youth Summit,” which addressed topics including “the boycott of the Israeli products” and “the role youth have to play in the boycott, how to source Palestinian products, campaigning to improve the quality and availability of these products, and designing initiatives to promote Palestinian products in Jerusalem.”
  • Land Research Center –  $70,000 – “Protecting Palestinian’s housing and land rights in Area ‘C’”
    • Stated “It should be marked that certain groups of colonists were formed to systematically break into al-Aqsa mosque under heavy protection of the Israeli police.  At times, worshipers got viciously attacked and assaulted by both soldiers and colonists and were banned from holding the prayers inside the mosque. In an unprecedented move, the Israeli occupation shut down the doors of al-Aqsa to worshipers since the occupation of the city in 1967 and imposed a full siege on it as collective punishment as per the assassination of rabbi Yehuda Glick.”
    • Discussing the destruction of a terrorist’s home:  “Around 1:00 a.m. of Wednesday November 19th 2014, the authorities of the Israeli occupation exploded the residence of Martyr Abdurrahman Shaloudi; the executor of the ramming operation , which took place during the past month in occupied Jerusalem, after which he was arrested and lynched shortly after.”
  • Ir Amim – $40,000 – “Advancing basic human rights in East Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the Wall”
    • Activities include “monitoring” and “exposing” Israeli government actions in Jerusalem, “policy and legal advocacy,” and running highly politicized tours of Jerusalem and the security barrier.
    • Although it has been described as “work[ing] toward coexistence in Jerusalem,” an Ir Amim official was quoted as saying that the group was “seeking to advance a political agenda, and was not an organization geared to promote coexistence.”
    • Ir Amim frequently accuses Israel of attempting to “Judaize” Jerusalem and promotes the Palestinian narrative on the city, including claims that “government powers are being handed over to the settler organizations” and archeological digs have become an important “tool in the fight for control” over Jerusalem.
  • Emek Shaveh – $50,000 – “Jerusalem land and heritage rights”
    • While Emek Shaveh claims that it “oppose[s] attempts to use archaeological finds to legitimize acts that harm disadvantaged communities,” it promotes distorted facts and unsubstantiated positions that promote the Palestinian narrative of victimization and sole Israeli aggression.
    • Utilizes highly biased and politicized rhetoric, accusing Israel of seeking “to demolish Palestinian village on ‘archaeological’ grounds,” and claims that the Elad Foundation is attempting to “Judaize” Jerusalem.
    • In an interview with 972 Magazine, Yonathan Mizrachi, archeologist from Emek Shaveh, compared Israeli archeological searching to the Hamas terror tunnels, saying:  “These tunnels, like those of Hamas, are being dug under a heavy cloak of secrecy. As with the Hamas tunnels, they serve as a tool for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They are also being dug under the houses of uninvolved civilians, in this case Palestinians. However, while the Hamas tunnels are described as serving terrorist purposes, these tunnels have been authorized by the Supreme Court of Israel, and all the relevant arms of the state have been mobilized in their support.”
  • Al-Maqdese for Society Development – $70,000 – “Empowering Palestinian citizens to fully obtain their rights in light of the grave Israeli violations”
  • Hurryyat – $60,000 – “Against torture in the Palestinian territories – The Palestinian accession to the International Convention Against Torture” (received $50,000 in the previous IHL Secretariat funding cycle “To strengthen the culture of respect for HR and IHL towards a torture-free Palestinian society, enhanced by the rule of law.”)

Complete list of NGOs funded by the IHL Secretariat in the 2015-2016 project funding cycle

NGOProject Title2015 project funding2014 project funding
PalVisionHakakom: your right$85,320
Ir AmimAdvancing basic human rights in East Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the Wall$40,000
Arab Thought ForumImproved community based monitoring, documentation and reporting of human rights violations in East Jerusalem$97,500
Sawa OrganizationToward a life of dignity for Palestinian minors$70,000
Independent Youth ForumHarnessing Palestinian capacity to claim and advocate for their rights, through video evidence in East Jerusalem $30,821
Al-Maqdese for Society DevelopmentEmpowering Palestinian citizens to fully obtain theirrights in light of the grave Israeli violations$70,000
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)Safeguarding human rights of Palestinians living under Occupation$50,000
Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (CCPRJ)Revisiting international law on population transfer: a project promoting accountability for settler implantation and forcible displacement of Palestinians $50,000$50,000
Palestinian Counseling CenterStrengthening child protection in East Jerusalem$100,000
WAC MAANDefending the rights of jobless and workers in East Jerusalem and Area C$70,000
Jerusalem Center for WomenHotline for children and their families $50,000
Jerusalem Network for Community AdvocacyPartnership for protection: empowering Palestinian residents of Occupied East Jerusalem $69,457
Emek ShavehJerusalem land and heritage rights$50,000
THE JAHALIN ASSOCIATION [NABI SAMWEL] ("TJA")Developing Palestinian Bedouin Jahalin Resilience $32,484
Land Research centerProtecting Palestinian's housing and land rights in Area 'C'$70,000
The Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation- PYALARAHands in hands against settlers violence $98,958
HurryyatAgainst torture in the Palestinian territories- The Palestinian accession to the International Convention Against Torture $60,000$50,000
Torture Rehabilitation CenterStrengthening the resiliency of marginalized communities affected by settlers or/and Israeli forces violence in Hebron $50,000
Social Developmental Forum- SDFImprove the local response of the right to work and the right of access for people with disabilities in Gaza Strip$86,652
Society Voice FoundationAdvocacy for displaced families and demolished houses in the Gaza Strip$94,325
Total $1,325,517

Previous funding provided by the IHL Secretariat

  • March 2014: Announced $10.5 million in core funding, over three years, for 24 Israeli and Palestinian NGOs, including groups that engage in legal warfare against Israeli officials and companies that do business with Israel, promote BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns, and exploit the false “apartheid” analogy to demonize Israel.
  • The first round of project funding (September 2014 to August 2015) distributed $1.2 million to NGOs.  Some of the NGOs funded by the Secretariat accuse Israel of “de-Palestinization,” apartheid, colonization, collective punishment, forced displacement, violating religious and cultural rights, “repression,” “restricting movement,” “water theft,” and a “ghettoization project,” as well as supporting BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) agendas.
  • August 2014: Announced “emergency funding” to nine NGOs for use in documenting “large scale violations of human rights and international humanitarian law – the majority against Palestinian civilians and civilian objects” in Gaza. The products were cited extensively in the report of the UNHRC Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the 2014 Gaza War.