At the 390th meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian on July 23, 2018, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein made many highly biased statements echoing the offensive language and false claims of politicized non-governmental organizations (NGOs).1
A number of his remarks adopted tendentious NGO claims on the violence along the Israel-Gaza border. Since the violence began on March 30, 2018, NGO Monitor has systematically documented the unverified and inflammatory allegations made by human rights organizations. These statements single out Israel and ignore human rights abuses – such as the recruitment and use of children as soldiers, use of human shields, targeting of Israeli civilians by rockets, deliberate burning of Israeli agricultural fields, etc. – perpetrated by Palestinian armed groups. Many of the NGO statements also falsely characterize Palestinian combatants as civilians, failing to disclose their affiliations to terror groups (information often provided by the groups themselves).
For example, Zeid stated that the situation along the Israel-Gaza border “almost exploded into a serious conflict triggered by the killing of an Israeli soldier and the subsequent killing of four Palestinian civilians.” At least three of the “civilians” killed were actually members of Hamas (as confirmed by the organization) engaging in violence.
Zeid also referred to the “root cause of the demonstrations” as being the “grossly inadequate conditions inflicted on Gaza residents by occupation and 11 years of blockade by Israel.” Zeid’s use of the terms “occupation” and “blockade” are incorrect both factually and legally. In addition, no blame for the situation in Gaza was attributed to Hamas and its misappropriation of aid for terror.
Blindly repeating propaganda from NGOs such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) linked Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), Zeid claimed there are “hundreds of Palestinian children detained by Israel, some without charge, under administrative detention.” According to the UN Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict, only five Palestinian minors were held in administrative detention. Further, Zeid provides no evidence to support his claims that detained individuals were denied due process.
Zeid also appears to target NGO Monitor’s work, in violation of his role to support civil society and human rights values. Zeid, echoing an article published in the Palestinian paper Donia al-Watan, states that NGO “sources of funding are undermined through campaigns to delegitimize organizations working on the rights of Palestinians.”2 In contrast to the misleading accusation, by demanding increased transparency, accountability, and oversight in the NGO funding process, NGO Monitor is contributing to responsible civil society. We also expose evidence of funding that is provided by governments to organizations which have ties to terrorism (in violation of international law) or that is used to promote discriminatory BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel (a violation of human rights law).
- CEIRPP was established by the UN in the 1970s as part of its discriminatory “Zionism is racism” campaign. On June 30, 2017 it held an anti-Israel propaganda conference BDS and demonize the existence of Israel.
- In July 2018, the Palestinian newspaper Donia al-Watan reported on a meeting at the Palestinian Center for Social and Economic Policy Planning in Ramallah. The agenda included the funding issue among Palestinian NGOs and the role of NGO Monitor in this crisis. They discussed the intense desire to “draw attention” to NGO Monitor’s role in drastic reductions in funding to a number of Palestinian NGOs and complained about the successful “branding [of] the slogans and the Palestinian national struggle as incitement and encouraging violence.”