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Israeli and Palestinian NGO Activity

By NGO Monitor
October 18, 2006

  • On October 7, Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) published an article by Jonathan Cook entitled "The Struggle for Palestine's Soul" which argued that Israel has broken its agreements with the Palestinians because "it has not for one moment renounced violence against Palestinian resistance to occupation." He went on to say that if Hamas wins its political and military battles with Fatah "then the Palestinians will have the chance to re-energize the intifada, and launch a proper, consensual fight to end the occupation." Despite this agenda, ICHAD received €472,000 from the EU in 2004 under the Partnership for Peace program.
  • Al Mezan, a Palestinian NGO funded by the Ford Foundation and the International Commission of Jurists, among other sources, launched an international campaign on September 18, to demonstrate that "the Gaza Strip remains under Israeli effective control." One aim of the campaign is to distribute information worldwide "to show...the de facto Israeli occupation."
  • Al Haq, a politicized Palestinian NGO and affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists, also issued a statement on September 12 stating that Gaza is still occupied. Al Haq details Israel's recent military operations but dismisses Palestinian responsibility for rockets attacks on Israeli towns and euphemistically refers to the illegal cross-border attack and abduction of Gilad Shalit as "an armed raid." The statement ended by calling on " the High Contracting Parties to the four Geneva Conventions to recognize Israel's continued occupation of, and responsibility for, the Gaza Strip."
  • On September 14, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)issued a Position Paper on the death penalty under the Palestinian National Authority in which it criticized the practice. It called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas not to ratify death sentences and called for the abolishment of the death penalty altogether.

    PCHR also released a "Special Report" in September entitled "Six Years of Israeli Aggression on the OPT; IOF [Israeli Occupation Forces] Commit Unprecedented War Crimes against Palestinian Civilians and Property." It accuses Israel of war crimes, completely fails to mention Palestinian terrorism and calls on upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention "to search for and prosecute those responsible for grave breaches, namely war crimes."
  • BADIL, a radical Palestinian NGO which advocates the right of return to Israel of Palestinian refugees, issued a seventy-page report in September which claimed that large numbers of Palestinians have been displaced by Israel's security barrier. The report, entitled "Displaced by the Wall", distorts international legal standards, describes the effects of the barrier as a "crime against humanity and a war crime" and fails to mention Palestinian terrorism which prompted the construction of the barrier.
  • The Holy Land Trust (HLT) is a Bethlehem-based NGO claiming to "develop[e] nonviolent resistance", which carries out political advocacy for the Palestinian narrative on a national and international level. In October, HLT took the Swiss Representative to the PA on a tour of Bethlehem and the security barrier in the vicinity of the town. The tour included a talk by Salah Ta'amari, the Governor of the Bethlehem District, about "the siege on Bethlehem, the [Israeli] attacks, the effects on tourism, and the destruction of the economy." HLT held a conference in December 2005 which included radical NGOs such as the International Solidarity Movement, Sabeel and ICAHD. HLT has also signed a petition calling for the academic boycott of Israel."

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