Focus: NGO Report to Quartet — Propaganda vs. humanitarian aid

A number of international NGOs which claim to promote humanitarian aid published a lobbying document on September 25, 2008, entitled “The Middle East Quartet: a progress report.”  Despite claiming to present “evidence” and “verdicts” on the Quartet policy recommendations to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the report is a compilation of claims from other NGO reports, many of which lack credibility or have been exposed as inaccurate.  The selective and misrepresentative descriptions reveal the strong political agenda of the signatory NGOs, and their implementation of the NGO strategy from the UN 2001 Durban Conference and in the preparations for the 2009 review conference.

The report was produced by political NGOs that have been analyzed by NGO Monitor, including CARE International UK (and national CARE branches), Christian Aid, CAFOD, DanChurchAid, Diakonia, EMHRN, Medico International, Medicins Du Monde, Oxfam International, Save the Children (Sweden and UK), UCP (including Oxfam Novib, Cordaid, ICCO, IKV Pax Christi), World Vision Jerusalem.

Publications provided as “sources” in this report include:

  • The Gaza Strip: A humanitarian implosion” – Analyzed in detail by NGO Monitor and shown to include factual inaccuracies, omissions and distortions.
  • Yesh Din’s July 2008 data sheet. NGO Monitor’ examination revealed “methodologies that limit the credibility of [its] claims, and has the appearance of academic methods without the substance”: misrepresentative samples, double counting and a disregard for comparative data.
  • UNICEF report quoting the “1612 working group,” whose members include Palestinian political NGOs such as Addameer, Al Haq, Al Mezan, Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCI-PS).  Much of the “research” is provided by DCI-PS, whose political advocacy, contradictory evidence and unverifiable claims have been exposed in detail by NGO Monitor.
  • Other sources include UN OCHA (whose strong political bias and lack of credibility has been shown in past NGO Monitor reports); the Negotiations Affairs Department (a Palestinian propaganda arm); PNGO (a key proponent of the Durban strategy to delegitimize Israel in international fora); and WHO (see NGO Monitor’s findings that the WHO’s April 2008 report was based on unreliable and false NGO claims).

Misleading claims which reveal the report’s politicized agenda include:

  • The report cites the ICJ advisory opinion on the Separation barrier as though it were a legally binding ruling – despite its discredited nature.
  • The report’s extensive discussion of the impact of checkpoints and “the Wall” on Palestinians is contrasted with only one mention of Israel’s need to protect is citizens. In a farcical contortion, the report admits that the “number or Israeli deaths from terrorism has decreased from a peak in 2002,” while claiming that “we are not in a position to attribute causes to the decrease.”
  • The report promotes the NGO mantra of “collective punishment of Palestinians,” and that Gaza is still occupied, despite the lack of basis for these claim.
  • The main body of the report addresses intra-Palestinian violence, and finds “grave human rights abuses.” Yet the Executive Summary ignores this point, and focuses primarily on Israeli “obligations” and “obstacles.”

Despite these deficiencies, these claims were quoted uncritically by the International Herald Tribune, BBC News, the Irish Times, the Independent, the Guardian, and many other international media sources.