NGO Monitor has reported on the virulent NGO campaigns regarding Israel’s policies toward Gaza,. In January and February 2008, 425 rockets were fired were fired at Israeli cities, wounding scores and killing one civilian; yet NGOs continue to portray Israel as the aggressor, ignore the role of Hamas in the humanitarian situation, and repeat claims of "collective punishment" of the Palestinians.
- Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International statements echo prior campaigning
Both Human Right Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International issued statements about Gaza. A February 29 statement by Human Rights Watch reflects previous positions taken by the NGO. While condemning "[i]ndiscriminate rocket attacks by the Palestinian group Hamas against civilian areas in Israel” as “serious violations of international humanitarian law”, HRW repeated earlier claims that Israel “should do more to examine its targeting behavior and to implement measures that better protect civilians.” Despite claiming to address the impact of the conflict on civilians, this statement ignored Hamas’ continuing practice of endangering Palestinians by firing rockets from within densely populated civilian centers.
HRW’s February 7 statement — ‘Gaza: Israel’s Energy Cuts Violate Laws of War – similarly repeats the charge: that while "rocket and suicide bomb attacks" are "war crimes" (an important change in HRW’s position), Israel’s response violates international law and constitutes “collective punishment.” James Ross of HRW responded in Feb. 7, 2008 Letter to Editor of the Jerusalem Post (‘We Defend Rights’) to an article by Eric Shechter which criticized HRW’s statements concerning Gaza ("Prisoners of Gaza," January 22) as constituting a double standard when compared to HRW’s language elsewhere. Ross defended HRW’s application of international law, including the terms "occupation" and "indiscriminate attacks" without addressing the specifics; Shechter’s response re-asserted that HRW’s application of international law in condemning Israel remains fundamentally flawed.
Amnesty International also issued a statement on Gaza March 2, 2008 — “Killings of civilians must cease, condemning Israel for “attacks [which] are disproportionate and go beyond lawful measures" while adding , "It is high time that the leaders of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) took effective steps to prevent and punish attacks on civilians in Israel”—a statement which ignores Hamas’ continued direct involvement with rocket attacks.
- Oxfam inverts reality to portray Israel as the aggressor
In an op-ed in The Telegraph (UK) (‘The State of Gaza should shame us all’, Jan. 31, 2008), the director of Oxfam, Barbara Stocking, inverted cause and effect, presenting Israel as the aggressor, and muting the responsibility of Hamas for rocket attacks: “While accepting the legitimate security concerns of Israel, we must be clear that the plight of the people of Sderot, … will not end, unless Israel too stops its blockade and military attacks.” Stocking also repeated the false charge that Israel’s policy toward Gaza represents “collective punishment.” In a February 28, 2008 statement, Oxfam equated terrorist rocket attacks with Israel’s response, terming both "military action that affects civilians and targets civilian infrastructure.”
On March 3, 2008 Oxfam condemned a potential Israeli action, in a statement which ignored Israel’s right to self defense and the terrorists’ deliberate policy of fighting from civilian areas.
- Christian Aid distorts casualty figures
In a March 3, 2008 statement Christian Aid laments the death of "112 Palestinians, two Israeli soldiers and an Israeli civilian." The NGO uses Palestinian claims which group terrorists and civilians together to inflate the number, while urging dialogue with Hamas, whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel.
- Gisha continues one-sided condemnations of Israel’s Gaza policy
In an interview with the Jerusalem Post ("One on One: ‘Control Creates Responsibility‘", Feb. 6, 2008), Gisha Director Sari Bashi, called Israel’s Gaza policy "illegal, dangerous and stupid." When challenged with points from Avraham Bell’s January 2008 article (International Law and Gaza: The Assault on Israel’s Right to Self-Defense, Jan. 2008), which criticizes Gisha’s position, Bashi simply repeated standard one-sided NGO claims without providing a complete legal analysis, regarding the historical status of Gaza.
On March 2, Gisha issued a statement that called on “both sides of the conflict” to “remove civilians from the cycle of combat.” While noting that “the Hamas organization and militants in Gaza must immediately stop the firing of rockets on towns in southern Israel”, Gisha drew a parallel between these attacks, and Israel’s response, condemning Israel’s “undifferentiated firing into crowded population centers.” Gisha did not condemn Hamas’ practice of launching rockets from civilians areas (human shields), a practice which is clearly a violation of international law.