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NGO Activity in Brief

By NGO Monitor
November 9, 2006

  • Reverend Stephen Sizer, Vice Chair of Friends of Sabeel UK, has withdrawn £140,000 of his Parish's money from the Church of England's Central Board of Finance (CBF) investment account, in protest at the Church's decision against divestment. Sizer, who threatened this action in March 2006, as previously reported by NGO Monitor, accuses the Church of "profiting from the colonisation of Palestine." Sizer has referred to Israel as an "apartheid regime", is active in promoting the divestment campaign and is a proponent of replacement theology.
  • Sabeel’s active promotion of anti-Israel divestment included a conference in Kansas City on October 21-22 attended by 336 people (according to Sabeel). After criticizing the Presbyterian Church for hosting the event, Kansas City Jewish Chronicle Editor, Rick Hellman was invited to the conference where he gave a workshop entitled "Disputation: A Zionist perspective on peace."

    Jeff Halper, Director of ICAHD, (funded by the EU and closely allied with Sabeel), gave a plenary address and two workshops at the conference and also held an "Activist Day" on November 1 in which he emphasized demonizing rhetoric (Israeli "Apartheid"), and promoted divestment, boycotts and sanctions against Israel.
  • Human Rights Watch issued a three page report on October 19, which stated that Hezbollah had fired cluster munitions at Israel during the recent Israel-Lebanon conflict of July/August this year. This came over 2 months after HRW published a 51 page report on "Israeli war crimes" in Lebanon. The report stated that "Hezbollah launched cluster attacks that were at best indiscriminate...At worst, Hezbollah deliberately attacked civilian areas with these weapons." The long publication delay was attributed to claims that the Israeli government had requested secrecy, but HRW’s evidence for this claim lacked credibility.

    Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s Middle East Division Director, published an op-ed in Al-Sharq al-Awsat on October 5, in which HRW acknowledged that its numerous reports during the war were not correct. Whitson stated that Hezbollah was guilty of using human shields during the recent Israel-Lebanon war: "Human Rights Watch’s research found that on a number of occasions Hezbollah unjustifiably endangered Lebanese civilians by storing weapons in civilian homes, firing rockets from populated areas, and allowing its fighters to operate from civilian homes." This contradicts HRW statements such as by HRW’s Emergencies Director Peter Bouckaert on July 31 where he claimed that "our investigations have not found evidence to support Israeli allegations that Hezbollah are intentionally endangering Lebanese civilians by systematically fighting from civilian positions." (see NGO Monitor report on NGO activities during the Lebanon war)

    HRW also published a 101-page report on November 7 entitled "A Question of Security: Violence Against Palestinian Women and Girls" detailing the PA’s failure to address this issue. Lucy Mair, the report’s co-author wrote "when confronted with cases of violence against women and girls, the Palestinian criminal justice system is more interested in avoiding public scandal than in seeing justice done." Unlike Amnesty's discredited report on Palestinian women, HRW's publication does not attribute these human rights violations to Israel, but explores Palestinian sociological and religious factors, as well as the political responsibility of the PA.
  • In a press release of October 18, Al Mezan condemned Israeli army operations which resulted in the killing of three armed terrorists and a fourth individual whose status as a combatant or a non-combatant is unclear. The statement said that Israel’s actions were a "serious violations of human rights" and "constitute grave breaches of international humanitarian law." The report did not mention anywhere that at least three of the dead were Hamas gunmen participating in violence at the time.
  • Adalah, a pressure group claiming to promote Arab rights in Israel, was criticized by Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz for statements on the police investigation of the deaths of thirteen Arab Israelis in the October 2000 riots. Adalah held a press conference on October 15 where it unveiled its 133 page report condemning the investigation. Mazuz stated that "you [Adalah] chose to hand over your own report in which you presented sharp and absolute facts and conclusions, … you held a press conference in which [speakers] made - in addition to legitimate criticism - harsh and unacceptable statements." Mazuz was referring to statements referring to the Israeli government as a "junta which proves each day that it is the most fascist and racist in history."
  • American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), received $2.2million from USAID to expand an existing USAID/OFDA–funded food and relief supplies program in Lebanon. As reported by NGO Monitor, ANERA operates many valuable humanitarian aid programs but also engages in biased anti-Israeli political activities. Its publications erase the context of terrorism and promote the Palestinian narrative.

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