On May 4 and May 5, 2019, Palestinian terror groups in Gaza fired over 600 rockets and mortars toward Israeli population centers, murdering four Israeli civilians.

As with previous flare-ups involving Gaza, NGOs and NGO officials that claim to promote human rights have ignored the blatant Palestinian violations against Israeli civilians. Some have remained silent altogether, while others have focused exclusively on demonizing Israel for responding to the attacks. For example, the American NGO IfNotNow tweeted “Israel must stop murdering Palestinian civilians.”

Repetition of Hamas Talking Points

One of the Palestinian casualties was a pregnant woman and a 14-month-old baby. According to Israeli military sources, their deaths were caused by a misfired Palestinian terrorist rocket (“misfired” in the sense that it did not reach its intended target of Israeli civilians). While some NGOs attribute these deaths to “still-undetermined origin,” others are simply repeating the Hamas-led Gaza Ministry of Health, which blamed Israel.

In particular, employees of Human Rights Watch (HRW), which claims to only publish verifiable and accurate information, have parroted the Hamas propaganda, without assessing or acknowledging Israeli counter-claims. HRW had certainly not done independent research into the incident at the time. Research Assistant Abier Almasri, based in Gaza, tweeted, “Israeli airstrike killed 14 months old baby girl and severely injured pregnant mother and other daughter.” HRW Israel and East Jerusalem Consultant Khulood Badawi also tweeted “The Health Ministry in the #Gaza strip “Little baby Seba Abu Arar, 14 months, and her pregnant mother mom Falestine Abu Arar, 37 killed in Israeli strike.” Omar Shakir, HRW Israel/Palestine Director, retweeted his colleagues’ falsehoods.

Commemorating the Deaths of Terrorists

Two NGOs, Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC) and IfNotNow, offered their condolences for two terrorists killed during the latest round of violence. UHWC “expressed its deepest condolences… to the Abu Al-Jidian family on the martyrdom of the honored colleague Al-Khadoom Talal Abu Al-Jidian, the security officer at Al Awda Hospital and his wife and son in a treacherous Zionist attack on his home.” The Al-Awda Hospital is run by UHWC, a PFLP-affiliated health committee active in Gaza. Similarly, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), designated a terrorist organization by the USEUCanada, and Israel, issued a statement mourning his death.

The American NGO IfNotNow referred to the death of Imad Mohammad Nseir as “devastating.” According to the Jerusalem Post, Nseir was a “member of a rocket launching unit of the Kataeb Humat al-Aqsa organization.”

Support for BDS

Many NGOs have also used the escalation of violence as a platform to launch BDS campaigns. War on Want called for the UK to “#StopArmingRepression #StopArmingIsrael,” and American Muslims for Palestine called for people to call the US State Department and “ask them to investigate Israel’s Leahy Law violations. The Leahy Law prohibits the United States from providing funding to foreign military units if they commit human rights violations.”

Some NGOs also used the attacks by Israel in response to the rockets as a way to protest Eurovision being hosted in Israel. Jewish Voice for Peace tweeted, “The bombing of Gaza should be a prompt to @Madonna that she could make a huge statement for freedom & equality by canceling Eurovision. Whether she intends it or not, performing in Israel endorses Israel’s brutal treatment of Palestinians.” The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) similarly tweeted “As @Eurovision contestants arrive in apartheid Tel Aviv, Israel kills 12 Palestinians in Gaza including 1-year-old Saba Abu Arar.”

NGOs/officials that have not commented at all include: Al-HaqHuman Rights Watch’s Sarah Leah Whitson (Director of Middle East Division), AddameerAldameerBreaking the SilenceDefense for Children International-PalestineInternational Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), Amnesty InternationalOxfamYesh Din, and Hamoked.

Medical NGOs, such as Medecins sans Frontieres and Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHRI), that regularly publicize alleged attacks against Palestinian hospitals and ambulances, were similarly silent and have not commented on the illegal attacks against Israeli civilians- including on medical infrastructure.

Statements from NGOs that completely ignore Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups’ war crimes against Israeli civilians:

  1. Adalah (Donors in 2012-2018 include: New Israel Fund (NIF); Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (joint funding from SwedenSwitzerlandDenmark and the Netherlands), SwitzerlandEuropean UnionBroederlijk Delen (Belgium), Bread for the World-EED (Germany), Oxfam-Novib (Netherlands), Christian Aid (UK), UNDP, and Open Society Foundation.)
  1. Al Mezan (2016 Donors include: European CommissionNorwayMedico International (Germany), Open Society FoundationsSigrid Rausing Trust (UK), Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (joint funding from SwedenSwitzerlandDenmark and the NetherlandsInterchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO- Netherlands), DiakoniaNorwegian Refugee CouncilAmerican Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and UNDP.)
  • On May 5, published a press release condemning the “Israeli military aggression” and called on the international community to “act urgently to stop the Israeli aggression, protect Palestinian civilians, and take steps to end the siege of Gaza, which leads to humanitarian disasters. And to hold accountable all those suspected of being involved in violations of international law, especially in the context of repeated targeting of civilians and civilian objects during the war.”
  1. American Friends Service Committee (2016 donors include Bread for the World-EED (Germany), Misereor (Germany), Open Society Foundation (founded by George Soros), and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.)
  • Posted on Facebook on May 5: “The U.S. and the rest of the international community must take action to stop Israel from escalating the violence against Gaza.”
  • Posted on Facebook on May 5: “The assault on Gaza must stop, but even without an attack, Gaza is on the verge of complete collapse. Over 80 percent of the population in Gaza relies on international assistance to survive, and cases of disease and malnutrition are on the rise. More than 40 percent of the population is unemployed, and 90 percent of businesses closed as a result of the blockade. Hospitals are out of up to 40 percent of needed supplies and medicine. Approximately 96 percent of the water is undrinkable. And electricity is only available for approximately four hours per day.
    (graphic by US Campaign for Palestinian Rights)
    Take action to end the blockade: https://www.gazaunlocked.org/act
  • Retweeted Rashida Tlaib: “When will the world stop dehumanizing our Palestinian people who just want to be free? Headlines like this & framing it in this way just feeds into the continued lack of responsibility on Israel who unjustly oppress & target Palestinian children and families. #FreePalestine” (May 5)
  1. American Muslims for Palestine (Funding is channeled through the AJP Educational Foundation Inc.)
  • Published a statement on its website condemning “Israel’s brutal onslaught of Gaza and its utter disregard for human life.” AMP called for people to call the state department and “ask them to investigate Israel’s Leahy Law violations. The Leahy Law prohibits the United States from providing funding to foreign military units if they commit human rights violations.”
  1. B’Tselem (2012-18 donors include: European UnionHuman Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (joint funding from SwedenSwitzerlandDenmark and the Netherlands), Norwaythe NetherlandsFranceUnited KingdomDanChurchAid (Denmark), Trocaire (Ireland), Catholic Relief Services (US), Christian Aid IrelandDiakonia (Sweden), Bread for the World- EED (Germany), ZIVIK (Germany), the Ford Foundation, the New Israel Fund, UNICEF, and UNDP.)
  • Twitter: “Targeted shooting at civilians is contrary to any human, moral and legal norm. In no way can such a fire be justified and international humanitarian law defines it as a war crime.” (May 5)
  • Simone Zimmerman, Director of B’Tselem USA
    • Twitter: “There are human beings in Gaza. Human beings with children to console, families to feed, businesses to run… and nowhere to hide, to flee, for safety. This is what you won’t see in headlines about Gaza, where two million are totally trapped & vulnerable to Israel’s violence.” (May 5)
  1. CODEPINK (Donors and funding sources are unavailable.)
  • Posted on Facebook on May 4 that “Gaza is under attack again. The Israeli bombings are a form of collective punishment. The people of Gaza face a humanitarian crisis caused by the 12 year blockade. The first step to peace is to stop the bombing and to lift the blockade.”
  1. Gisha (2013-2018 Donors include: Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (joint funding from SwedenSwitzerlandDenmark, and the Netherlands), Ireland (Irish Aid), Finland (Embassy of Finland in Tel Aviv), SwitzerlandRockefeller Brothers FundOpen Society FoundationBroederlijk Delen (Belgium), Trocaire (Ireland), Oxfam Novib (Netherlands), and UNDP.)
  • Published a statement on its website that “Deliberate or indiscriminate fire on civilians is a war crime. It must stop, immediately, as must all actions which knowingly put civilians at risk.” According to Gisha, “Ceasefire agreements and “gestures” by Israel to “ease” the closure on Gaza cannot substitute long-term solutions, including an end to the occupation.”
  • Tania Hary, Executive Director of Gisha
    • Twitter: “So many civilians have paid, are paying and will pay the price for the folly of morally rudderless leaders plunging an entire region into war. There aren’t just ‘two sides,’ there are multiple ways this can end and not all of them promise war on millions of people.” (May 5)
  1. Human Rights Watch (Donors include Open Society InstituteFord FoundationRockefeller Brothers Foundation, and the Oak Foundation.)
  • Tweets by Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine Country Director
    • “Imagine if foreign power sealed off US or any country from world for 12 yrs, forbidding anyone from leaving 25 by 7 mile territory outside of “exceptional humanitarian cases” & severely restricting entry of goods/electricity. Every candidate needs to weigh in. Go ahead-we’ll wait” (May 6)
    • “One stat you missed: Palestinian death toll (24 in last 48 hrs, according to Gaza Health Ministry). Your apparent targeting of residential buildings reckless given population density & compounds suffering you’ve caused by caging 2 mill ppl in 25 by 7 mile Gaza Strip for 10+ yrs” (May 5)
    • “Cycle Repeats: – Rockets indiscriminately fired, a war crime – Punitive shutdown of crossings, a war crime, & strikes on densely populated areas -Civilians terrorized Solutions that dont end closure that has turned Gaza into open-air prison wo making Israel safer only a bandaid” (May 5)
  • Tweets by Abeir Almasri, Research Assistant
    • “Another sleepless night as Israeli missiles rain down on #Gaza. Sounds of explosions, ongoing noise of the deafening Israeli military drone, and a friend of mine evacuated home, this is how we receive the holy month of Ramadan!” (May 5)
    • “Another sad day in #Gaza, Israeli airstrike killed 14 months old baby girl and severely injured pregnant mother and other daughter!” (May 4)
  • Tweet by Khulood Badawi (Israel and East Jerusalem Consultant): “The Health Ministry in the #Gaza strip ‘Little baby Seba Abu Arar, 14 months, and her pregnant mother mom Falestine Abu Arar, 37 killed in Israeli strike.’” (May 4)
  1. IfNotNow (Donors include the  Rockefeller Brothers Fund and  Foundation for Middle East Peace)
  • Twitter: “18 Palestinians, 4 Israelis dead. In the last 48 hrs. While Israelis run to bomb shelters, Palestinians have nowhere to run or hide, trapped in the open air prison of Gaza. We pray for the safety of Israeli & Palestinian civilians, whose leaders treat their lives as expendable.” (May 5)
  • Twitter: “We cannot look at this in isolation. This latest flareup is the result of years of deliberate Israeli political decisions to keep Gaza on the brink of a humanitarian crisis. The indifference of Israelis, Americans — Jews and non-Jews alike — to this is appalling.” (May 5)
  • Twitter: “This is heartbreaking, and horrifying. Israel must stop murdering Palestinian civilians. We stand with Gaza tonight and always. #GazaUnderAttack” (May 4)
  • Retweet of Mairav Zonszein: “The situation between Israel and Gaza has been known, and escalating consistently for a decade. The rocket attacks Israelis in the south suffer from is a direct consequence of Israeli government refusal to find ways to solve the situation. Military strikes clearly do not work” (May 4)
  1. Jewish Voice for Peace (2014-2017 Donors include the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Tides Foundation,  Violet Jabara Charitable Trust (an Arab-American foundation that also supports Electronic Intifada), the Firedoll Foundation, and the Wallace Global Fund.)
  • On May 5, published a statement “recommit[ing] to organizing for an end to the root causes of this violence — that for over a decade Israel has placed Gaza under siege, illegally sealing its borders of land, sea and air, trapping two million people inside and causing intense shortages of medicines, food, electricity and clean water.”
  • Twitter: “The bombing of Gaza should be a prompt to @Madonna that she could make a huge statement for freedom & equality by canceling Eurovision. Whether she intends it or not, performing in Israel endorses Israel’s brutal treatment of Palestinians #MadonnaDontGo” (May 5)
  • Twitter: “At least three Palestinians killed, including a baby, and 13 wounded in Israeli air raids on Gaza, says Gaza health ministry.” (May 5)
  1. Medical Aid for Palestinians (Donors include the United Nations (UNICEF, UN OCHA, UN occupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund), Islamic Relief, Muslim Aid, and the Ploughshares Trust.)
  • On May 5, published a statement expressing concern about the violence in Gaza stating that “The situation in Gaza is still tough, the airstrikes, tank shelling and firing by the navy are ongoing without stopping. I believe that the majority of the two million Palestinians living in Gaza will have had no sleep last night. The targets of the strikes indicate that there is no safe place in Gaza.”
  • Tweet by Aimee Shalan (Chief Executive of MAP): “In addition to the physical damage, the psychological toll of the airstrikes continuing across Gaza is profound” (May 5)
  • Tweet by Neil Sammonds (MAP Director of Advocacy and Campaigns): “But no thoughts at all with the families of innocent Gaza civilians killed & affected by Israeli attacks on civilian areas & buildings (& unlawful blockade & decades of dispossession)?” (May 6)
  1. Palestinian Center for Human Rights (2017 donors include: European UnionHuman Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (joint funding from SwedenSwitzerlandDenmark and the Netherlands), IrelandSpainOpen Society InstituteChristian Aid (UK), DanChurchAid (Denmark), Grassroots International, Kvinna Till Kvinna (Sweden), Trocaire (Ireland), Oxfam Novib (Netherlands), Misereor (Germany), and the United Nations (OCHA, OHCHR, UNDP, UN Women).)
  • On May 5, published a statement that Israel’s “policy of targeting civilian buildings, which include press offices and cultural institutions, constitutes a serious violation of international humanitarian law…direct and deliberate targeting of civilian objects is a war crime.”
  • On May 4, PCHR condemned the “ongoing wave of escalation” and stated that “civilians are paying dearly and the successive airstrikes have turned more than two million Palestinians into hostages to aggression, fear, anxiety and direct targeting.”
  1. Rights Forum (The Rights Forum does not release financial details or donation amounts.)
  • Twitter: “The Netherlands has a duty to persuade Israel to respect international law and to immediately cease disproportionate violence against Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Sign the petition of @ TheRightsForum:” (May 5)
  1. Samidoun (Samidoun does not publish financial information.)
  • Posted on Facebook on May 5 that “By late evening on Sunday, Israeli strikes had killed 18 Palestinians that day, bringing the toll to at least 26 Palestinians slain since Israel escalated its lethal attacks on the territory on Friday.”
  1. Save the Children (Donors include United States, Norway, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, and Germany.)
  1. Union of Agricultural Work Committees (Donors include the European Union (EU), Australia (via AusAID), Spain (AECID), NetherlandsItaly, JapanNorwegian People’s AidMedico, UNDP, Rosa Luxemburg FoundationUNRWA, Catholic Relief Services, NGO Development CenterWorld VisionAction Against HungerInternational Orthodox Christian Charities, and Grassroots International.)
  1. US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (Donors include the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.)
  • Launched an “Assault on Gaza Action Kit” as “We cannot stop Israel’s machine of violence and destruction today. But it is incumbent upon us, as residents of the country that has written Israel blank check after blank check for weapons to be used against the Palestinian people, to take a stand and demand justice.” The kit included tools to teach people how to lobby Congress as well as signs to use for events in support of Palestinians.
  • Tweets by Yousef Munayyer, Executive Director of USCPR:
    • “Palestinians have been under military occupation for decades by a nuclear power armed to the hilt and backed by the US, do they have a right to self-defense or just a right to remain silent and die?” (May 5)
    • “Israeli airstrikes destroying multi-story buildings in the densely populated Gaza strip – the world’s largest open air prison where 2 million Palestinians are trapped by Israel. https://twitter.com/MarahWadia/status/1125068084950241283 …” (May 5)
    • “Israel to Gaza: We just want to return to a situation where you remain silently locked in a cage for decade after decade. Why won’t you just accept this?!” (May 5)
    • “And this policy is directly connected to Israel’s colonization of the West Bank. So long is the situation in Gaza is stuck, and Israel keeps it intentionally so, they argue there can be no shift in the status quo elsewhere, i.e. colonization continues and apartheid deepens.” (May 5)
  1. War on Want (2015-2016 donors include: European Commission, UK’s Department for International Development (DFID),  Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Interpal, and Lipman-Miliband Trust.)
  • Posted on Facebook on May 5 that “Palestinians in #Gaza suffer immeasurable hardship due to the illegal blockade. They are profoundly vulnerable to danger from Israel’s unrelenting bombing campaigns, such as the one that has killed several people yesterday.” War on Want called for the UK to “#StopArmingRepression #StopArmingIsrael.”