The Goldstone report is primarily based on statements, publications, and submissions from highly politicized and biased non-governmental organizations (NGOs), many of which are funded by European governments. This broad reliance on secondary sources lacking credibility contrasts with the claims to have conducted a “fact finding mission”, and to have subjected claims to critical examination. Beyond adopting the flawed methodologies and false claims, the funding provided for these NGOs links European governments to the Goldstone report, and its contribution to anti-Israel demonization.

The 575-page preliminary report, issued 15 September 2009, contained over 500 direct references to and quotes from NGOs, as well as over 120 references and quotes from United Nations agencies, such as UNOCHA, which generally rely on NGOs as sources. (See below and NGO Monitor’s reports Goldstone Report: 575 pages of NGO “cut and paste” and House of Cards:  NGOs and the Goldstone Report for examples and more details.)

The highly biased allegations, and the visibility they receive, are enabled by the same European government funding for NGOs that propels other aspects of the Durban Strategy. This intense effort is based on the exploitation of the rhetoric of international law and human rights to promote demonization of Israel.  Similarly, European-funded political NGOs – such as PCHR, Al Mezan, Al Haq, and Adalah – are at the forefront of the “lawfare” campaigns that abuse the universal jurisdiction provisions in the legal codes of a number of Western countries using allegations of “war crimes.” As with the attempt to secure an arrest warrant against Ehud Barak in the UK (led by Al Mezan and Al Haq), the goals are negative publicity for and delegitimization of Israel, not “justice.”

NGO Citations

The following NGOs are used as sources in the Goldstone report. (Funding information is followed by an excerpt from the report and testimonies based on each NGO; these examples are not exhaustive). As seen in many of the excerpts, the NGO allegations were often unconnected to the conflict in Gaza or to the inquiry’s mandate, but were included in NGO submissions and the report’s text as part of a wider effort to condemn Israel and remove the context of terrorism.

1) Al-Haq: Diakonia (Sweden), Netherlands, Ireland, Norway, NDC (Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands).

Note 707: The NGO Al-Haq reported another particularly disturbing case of “what appears to be a willful killing” of a farmer from Hebron on 17 January 2009. According to medical personnel who were asked to collect his body from the Israeli soldiers by whom he had been detained, the farmer appeared to have been shot at point blank in the stomach while seated. See “A vicious reminder of occupation in the West Bank: Israeli soldiers Kill Palestinian farmer in Hebron”. Al-Haq press release, 17 January 2009.” (para. 1383)

“Al-Haq described the shooting of Srour, who according to Al-Haq had run to assist the boy who was shot in the abdomen, as a case of ‘willful killing.’” (n. 708)

2) Al Dameer: NDC (Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands), Norway, European Commission

“According to the human rights NGO Al-Dameer-Gaza, 2,011 civilian and cultural premises were destroyed, of which 1,404 were houses that were completely demolished and 453 were partially destroyed or damaged.” (para. 1242)

3) Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR): European Commission, Denmark, Norway, NDC (Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands)

“IOF [Israeli occupation forces] have launched at least 300 air and sea strikes against the Gaza Strip. These strikes have targeted 37 houses; 67 security and training sites; 20 workshops; 25 public and private institutions; seven mosques; and three educational institutions. The public institutions that have been bombarded are: the compound of ministries, the building of the Palestinian Legislative Council, the building of the cabinet in Gaza City; the buildings of the agricultural control department and the Municipality of Bani Suhaila in Khan Yunis; the buildings of Rafah Municipality and Governorate. The air strikes have targeted also 4 money exchange shops, a clinic, 3 fishing harbors, the Islamic University and 2 schools.” (para. 335)

“Thus, according to PCHR…, fewer than 17 per cent of the Palestinians killed during the military operations were combatants.” (para. 356)

4) Breaking the Silence: UK, Spain, Netherlands

“In more general terms, the Mission notes that the statements of the men used as human shields by the Israeli armed forces during house searches are corroborated by statements made by Israeli soldiers to the NGO Breaking the Silence. The soldier providing testimony 1 speaks of the ‘Johnnie procedure’…” (para. 1925)

“Breaking the Silence issued a statement in which it accused the Foreign Ministry of a ‘witch-hunt’, saying that it testified to the erosion of the ‘democratic culture’ in Israel.” (para. 1731)

5) Al-Mezan (2009): NDC (Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands), Norway, Diakonia (Sweden), Trocaire (Ireland), European Commission

“According to Al-Mezan, ‘This law essentially licenses the military to hold individuals arbitrarily and indefinitely, on the basis of assumed rather than proven guilt that they are conducting direct or indirect activities that could harm the security of Israel or are affiliated to groups working to harm the security of Israel’.” (para. 1455)

6)Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI): Spain, UK, Norway, the Netherlands, Diakonia (Sweden) Oxfam Novib (Netherlands)

“In a report reviewed by the Mission, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel stated that, in Jerusalem “discrimination in planning and building, expropriation of lands, and minimal investment in physical infrastructure and government and municipal services – these are concrete expressions of an Israeli policy designed to secure a Jewish majority in Jerusalem and push Palestinian residents outside the city’s borders.” (para. 1536)

7) Adalah: European Commission, Switzerland, Oxfam Novib (Netherlands)

“In addition, during the December-January Gaza military operations, Adalah filed a petition demanding that Gazan prisoners be allowed to use the telephone in order for them to contact family members. Not allowing this, Adalah argues, violates detainees’ right to dignity and their right to family life, and ‘transforms their imprisonment to a humiliating and degrading experience that contradicts international norms and conventions, in particular the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.’” (para. 1458)

8) Gisha: European Commission, Ireland, Norway, UK

“In the reports reviewed by the Mission,…Gisha call[s] this regulation an additional measure in a deliberate Israeli policy to deepen the separation between the West Bank and Gaza ‘in the pursuance by Israel of political goals at the expense of the civilian population, in blatant violation of international humanitarian law.’ It also ‘undermines the possibility of a two state solution’, and ‘contradicts a long list of Israeli undertakings to conduct negotiations for the establishment of an independent, viable Palestinian State, including an explicit commitment in the Oslo Accords to preserve the status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a ‘single territorial unit.’” (para. 1527)

9)HaMoked: European Commission, Finland, NDC (Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands), Oxfam Novib (Netherlands), Norway, Spain

“In the reports reviewed by the Mission, HaMoked …call[s] this regulation an additional measure in a deliberate Israeli policy to deepen the separation between the West Bank and Gaza ‘in the pursuance by Israel of political goals at the expense of the civilian population, in blatant violation of international humanitarian law.’ It also ‘undermines the possibility of a two state solution’, and ‘contradicts a long list of Israeli undertakings to conduct negotiations for the establishment of an independent, viable Palestinian State, including an explicit commitment in the Oslo Accords to preserve the status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a ‘single territorial unit.’” (p.1527)

10) Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I): European Commission, Diakonia (Sweden), Netherlands

“The Mission also investingated and confirmed allegations about the use of weapons whose potential long-term impact on individual victims’ health raises concern. They include allegations of the use of weapons containing chemical pollutants such as tungsten and white phosphorus (see also chapter XII).” (para. 1258)

Note from NGO Monitor: In fact, the Goldstone report chapters containing the allegations regarding illegal use of these weapons did not produce independent “confirmation”, but rather relied on selective testimony and unverifiable claims by witnesses, including unnamed “Palestinian and foreign doctors” working in the Shifa hospital. (para.49)

11) Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PCATI): Ireland, Norway, European Commission

“A PCATI lawyer representing detainees, Mr. Bader, who spoke at the Mission’s public hearings in Geneva, interviewed a number of the detainees in Israeli prisons and relayed their testimonies. These include stories from prisoners who said they were used as human shields or held in sandpits.” (para. 1110)

12) Yesh Din: Germany, Netherlands, UK, Ireland

“Yesh Din points out that the limited number of indictments leads, in practice, to even fewer convictions. Most of thos convictions are for offences that do not reflect the degree of gravity of the action…This situation has been attributed partially to the system of plea-bargaining officially used in Israel and to the willingness of the Military Prosecutor to agree to lesser offences and penalties having due regard, inter alia, to the difficulties encountered in gathering sufficient evidence to back up the original charge.”  (para 1828)

13) Alternative Information Center: Diakonia (Sweden) Christian Aid (Ireland), Sodepau (Catalan government in Spain)

“According to Shir Hever, an economist from the Alternative Information Centre, each day of closure costs the Palestinian economy $ 4.5 million and 276 jobs and drives 646 people below the poverty line.” (para. 1521)

14) TAWTHEQ (The Central Commission for Documentation and Pursuit of Israeli War Criminals): part of the PA (located in the general court building in Gaza, under Hamas control)

“The Mission received statistics on the fatalities of the military operations from the Gaza authorities, specifically from the Central Commission for Documentation and Pursuit of Israeli War Criminals (TAWTHEQ)… According to TAWTHEQ, 1,444 persons were killed.” (para. 352-3)

15) Defence for Children International (DCI)-Palestine Section: Save the Children Sweden (Sweden) and NDC (Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands)

“In its report on Israel’s detention of Palestinian children, released on 9 June 2009, DCI concluded that the abuse of Palestinian children by Israeli authorities is systematic and institutionalized.” (para. 1464)

16) Diakonia: Sweden

Diakonia’s written submission to the Goldstone commission repeats a spurious legal claim made by Al Haq that Israel did not act in self-defense and claims that Israel deliberately targeted civilians. Diakonia also uses language such as “collective punishment” and applies the controversial ICRC guidelines regarding the classification of civilians who “directly participate in hostilities.”  (See also, notes 365, 677)

17) Addameer: NDC (Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands), no other funding available

“According to Addameer, ‘The timing of the decision to ban family visits coincided with factional fighting in the Gaza Strip which was followed by Hamas’ seizing of control, a party which Israel does not recognize and defines as a ‘terrorist’ organization. Therefore, the decision to suspend the programme appears to be a form of collective punishment intended to coerce Palestinians to respond to Israel’s demands in terms of Palestinian leadership.’” (para. 1457)

Oral “testimony” in Geneva: “The main purpose of these policies of the imprisonment was to broke [sic] the soul of the resistance in the Palestinian people against the occupation.”

18) B’Tselem: European Commission, UK, Diakonia (Sweden), Switzerland, Norway

“According to B’Tselem, the Israeli military has openly admitted that the restrictions on Palestinians are there to enable Jewish settlers to move about freely.” (para 1544)

“In the face of the recently increase in violence by the Israeli security forces in the West Bank, B’Tselem stated that condemnations by Ministers and other officials “remain solely declarative. Security forces, meanwhile, misusing their power, continue to abuse and beat Palestinians, among them, minors (…). If a message is sent to security forces, it is that even if the establishment does not accept acts of violence, it will not take measures against those who commit them. The effect of such a message is that the lives and dignity of Palestinians are meaningless and that security forces can continue, pursuant to the function they serve, to abuse, humiliate, and beat Palestinians with whom they come into contact.” (para 1405)

19) Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP): Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, Municipality of Torino, UNRWA (Norway)

Oral “testimony” in Geneva: “The instability the psychological instability with the Israeli soldier has accumulated fear in him” which “has deprived him of this ‘halo’ feeling that he had over the years, and that now he wants to restore this lost image.” They also declared that “[w]e look in general to the Israelis as demons, that we can hate them…[b]ut we, the Palestinians have a greater capacity in my view to deal with the Israelis as equal human beings as a whole human being… “…inside Israel there is an identification with the aggressor, the Nazis.”

20) Miftah: European Commission

“In June 2006, Hamas subscribed to the so-called Prisoners Document, a common political platform shared by Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). An implicit recognition of the State of Israel could be traced to the statement that ‘the right to establish their independent state with al-Quds al-Sharif as its capital on all territories occupied in 1967.’” See (n. 25)

21) Bimkom: European Commission, UK, Netherlands, Denmark

“In a recent report reviewed by the Mission, Bimkom concluded that the Israeli Civil Administration applied ‘a deliberate and consistent policy in Area C with the goal of restricting Palestinian construction and development and limiting its spatial dispersion.’” (para. 1539)

22) Machsom Watch: updated information unavailable

“The restriction on the ability to move freely, without obstacle or delay, or without another person’s authorization, is often perceived as a humiliating experience.” (para. 1509)

23) Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD): NDC (Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands), Spain

“Observers have noted that Israeli control over the movement and access of the West Bank Palestinians is necessary to maintain control over the West Bank’s land and natural resources…The increased movement and access limitations recently implemented by Israel in the West Bank, would seam[sic] to share with the military operations of December 2008 – January 2009 Israel’s objective of ‘getting rid of Gaza in order to consolidate its permanent hold on the West Bank.’” (para. 1541)

24) Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ) – European Commission

“According to the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem, around 14,000 Palestinians in this suburb stand to lose their Jerusalem residency status as well as municipal services.” (para. 1524)

25) Stop the Wall: funding is nontransparent but believed to benefit from indirect European government funding).

“New tactics and weapons used by the Israeli security forces aimed at suppressing the popular movement have resulted in deaths and injuries.” (para. 1388)

26) Yesh Gvul: funding is nontransparent but believed to benefit from indirect European government funding).

“…detention pending trial is usually reserved for defendants thought to be dangerous, not for people arrested during protests. This has resulted in protesters being detained for weeks and months at a time.” (n. 1083)