On June 24, 2014, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) “held a general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.” The debate took place under the UNHRC’s permanent standing agenda “Item 7,” the mechanism that ensures that Israel is the only country singled out at every session. (In the last year, Israel, the US, and the EU have not participated in Agenda Item 7 discussions.)

In attendance were the mothers of three Israeli teenagers who had been kidnapped (and later found murdered) by terrorists in the West Bank. Rachel Fraenkel, one of the mothers, addressed the Council under the auspices of UN Watch, saying: “Mr. President, it is wrong to take children, innocent boys or girls, and use them as instruments of any struggle. It is cruel. This council is charged with protecting human rights.” The International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists and the European Union of Jewish Students also “expressed concern about the recent kidnapping of three Jewish boys” and other violations of Israelis’ rights.

In sharp contrast, the vast majority of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that made statements before the UNHRC failed to denounce the kidnapping. Instead, they condemned Israel for its legitimate responses to the incident and attempts to combat terrorism. These politicized NGOs, many of which are funded by European governments, repeated standard attacks based on alleged Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights, and reflecting the general tenor of their comments and reports about Israel.

Excerpts from NGO statements

BADIL, on behalf of the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (Addameer; Aldameer; Al-Haq; Al Mezan; Defence for Children International Palestine Section; Ensan Center for Human Rights and Democracy; Hurryyat; Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights; Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies; Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling; Palestinian Center for Human Rights)

(Current funding information is largely non-transparent, however Badil is a preapproved recipient of funding from the Human Rights and International Law Secretariat [joint funding from the governments of Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands].)

“The Palestinian Human rights Organizations Council takes this opportunity to condemn the Israeli aggression currently underway in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and the situation of the approximately 5500 Palestinian hostages held in prisons among them children, women, and elderly.”

“Palestinian teenagers have been assassinated and approximately 500 Palestinians from across the West Bank have been abducted by Israeli occupational forces … These arrests and detentions are a clear form of collective punishment against the Palestinian people … Israeli occupational forces are committing large scale war crimes in occupied Palestine.”

“Since the beginning of the strike, the Israeli authorities have undertaken a number of punitive measures; of utmost concern is the proposed force feeding bill that is due to come imminently before the Israeli Knesset… If passed into legislation it will provide a legislative foundation for torture on an industrial scale.”

Action contre la faim (French NGO funded by the EU, US, France, UK, and UN)

“Prolonged occupation, and adverse policies and practices on the part of the Occupying Power generated ingrained levels of water scarcity and disparity, food insecurity, dependence on humanitarian relief, and a chronic state of emergency… Palestinians have lost their ability to live self-sustaining lives, while food insecurity and protection concerns are increasing.”

“[Food insecurity is due to] extensive destruction of property provided through humanitarian aid, including resident and livelihood-related structures; and the imminent risk of forcible transfer which affects several communities across the West Bank.”

“Providing humanitarian assistance in a manner consistent with international humanitarian law to the most vulnerable communities has put the humanitarian community at odds with the government of Israel, leading to routine destruction and appropriation of humanitarian objects.”

International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations

(Funding information is not available, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.)

“…Israeli military forces are running amok throughout the occupied Palestinian territories making life unbearable for the Palestinian population as a whole. Israel is guilty of war crimes and violate the whole fabric of international law in its occupation…The collective punishment meted out against the Palestinians in the occupied territories ruin the basic rights of the Palestinians…”

“Israel has succeeded to use its confrontation policies against the UN Human rights system to exhort a sizeable ransom in exchange for its return to the UPR process and the HRC. In fact it seems that an entire reward programme has been instituted for the gross violator of international law whereby Israel is elected to symbolic leadership positions in the United Nations and admitted to a range of regional groups.”

General Arab Women Federation (GAWF)

(Funding information is not available, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.)

“As our hearts reach out to all families of missing children, it is however difficult to ignore the discrepancy between these outcries and the half-hearted lip service paid over the years towards the suffering of an entirely kidnapped Palestinian society.”

“Throughout Palestine there is not a single household without a detainee or prisoner, often violently abducted in the middle of the night. Over the years their families have been desperately calling to bring back their boys, yet until now their cries have been silenced in the process of international diplomacy.”

“In a clear act of collective punishment 15,000 Palestinian homes, hops, schools and universities have been raided, looted or vandalized, families were arrested while soldiers ate their food, stole their gold, or threatened to demolish properties belonging to an orphanage.”

“…if we would bring all mothers of Palestinian children that have been abducted or killed by Israeli forces there would be no place in this room…over the past two weeks the grievances of three Israeli families have been exploited to serve a political agenda…”

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)

(Funding information is not available, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.)

From UN summary: CIHRS remained especially concerned by the hundreds of Palestinians administratively detained by Israel without being charged, a dozen of whom currently were on a hunger strike and who may face forced feeding if the legislative amendment on force-feeding was passed before the Israeli Knesset.

“CIHRS also welcomes the work achieved by outgoing United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, Mr. Richard Falk, and reiterates the call made by the Special Rapporteur to urge more businesses and civil society “to join the growing global solidarity movement to resist the prolonged Israeli occupation and creeping annexation of Palestine.”

“…divestment in and the creation of restrictions to prevent investment and business dealings that enable the illegal settlement and colonization of occupied territories is in line with international standards and should be made a priority by third party states.”

Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights

(Funded by Norway, Germany (via Medico International), Sweden (via Diakonia), Ireland (via Trociare), European Commission, UNICEF, UK (via Save the Children), Open Society Institute, [joint funding from the governments of Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands].)

From UN summary: “Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights stressed the urgency of the situation in the Gaza Strip and requested action by the UNHRC. The Gaza blockade was a gross violation of human rights and the population was faced with the denial of basic services and infrastructure.  Such restrictions amounted to a form of collective punishment.”

Organization for Defending Victims of Violence

(Funding information is not available, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.)

“We believe that Israel governments consider human settlers as human shield in their militaristic approach to peripheral environment and that is against human dignity.”

“If someone looks carefully, he finds out that the way Israel is behaving is the root cause of most of today’s Middle East problems.”


(Funded by the UK (via Christian Aid), Sweden (via Diakonia), Germany (via EED), Belgium, the Netherlands (via ICCO), Ireland, Norway, UNDP, and [joint funding from the governments of Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands].)

“These killings took place as part of a large-scale highly intrusive investigation taking the form of collective punishment in reprisal for the missing settlers”

“As part of its alleged investigation, Israel is also carrying out late-night house raids; ransacking homes and destroying private possessions while intimidating and harassing the residents”

“We ask each Member State of the Council to take strong action in order to ensure that the search for settlers is no longer used as a pretext to kill, arrest, torture, and infringe on the privacy of the Palestinians in the form of collective punishment.”

Union of Arab Jurists

(Funding information is not available, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.)

From UN summary: “The Union of Arab Jurists stated that Israel’s 34 year-long occupation of the Syrian Golan was illegal and that since last February, the construction of illegal settlements had been continuing. Those acts were violations of international law and required the international community to ensure that the ‘rule of the jungle’ did not prevail in the world.”

Commission on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches

(Funded by the EU, US, and church-based organizations.)

“The occupation in general is generating an enormous stress and psychological damage on children.”

“Tear gas and stun grenades begin fired directly into school yards by the Israeli military is not uncommon and often leads to injuries related to severe tear gas inhalation in addition to seriously disrupting the learning environment.”

“Settler harassment and violence is also not uncommon, with cases of settlers attempting to break into school grounds recorded, settlers shooting tear gas towards children and children being attacked by settlers when walking to school”

“Even when no incident occurs, the constant military presence and fear of settler violence is a source of anxiety among students. It results in drop-outs, lack of attendance, deterioration of the quality of learning and increasing tensions and violent behaviour of students.”

International Muslim Women’s Union

(Funding information is not available, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.)

“The diplomatic caution found its sudden end when on June 12, 2014 three Israeli teenagers from one of the three Israeli settlements went missing. Although the background of these disappearances is still unclear, Western media and governments immediately condemned the incident in the ‘strongest terms’…in stark contrast to the lack of condemnation after the willful killing of two unarmed Palestinian teenagers in May 2014, or in view of the thousands of kidnapped Palestinian adults and children held in Israeli jails without charge and on false pretexts.”

“It is equally worrying that the international community has so far failed to express its concern in view of the total disproportionality of the biggest military siege unfolding in the West Bank following the kidnapping of the three settlers, amounting to collective punishment…The merciless mass terror is totally out of proportion.”

From the UN summary: “The International Muslim Women’s Union stated that after decades of futile diplomacy and disregarded United Nations resolutions, the General Assembly had finally decided to designate 2014 as the international year of solidarity with the Palestinian people.”