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Report on NGO "Lawfare" in the Palestine/Israel conflict

Submitted by on 14/10/2008 – 12:39 pm4 Comments

The report, published by NGO Monitor, is an unprecedented source that should however be read attentively with a critical eye towards its evidently biased perceptions of the situation in the region. Less fortunately, it is clear that the report puts greater weight on the underlying critique that it has endeavoured to submit against the activities of human rights NGO in the region. Nevertheless, it bases this critique on factually flawed appreciations that are vastly unfounded, unqualified and based on flawed logic.

Inter alia, the report submits that “though claiming to promote universal human rights, these same NGOs have not pursued cases against Palestinian, Hezbollah, Syrian, or Iranian officials involved in terror.” It further holds with disdain that “as in other politicized NGO campaigns, these activities consistently draw an immoral equivalence between anti-terror operations and mass scale atrocities, minimize or omit the context of terror, exploit international legal terminology and rhetoric, level condemnations without providing proper bases or reliable evidence, and use incomplete, distorted, or inconsistent legal definitions.” Indeed, some harsh statements that reflect nothing from the reality in the field, and exemplify very clearly the standpoint of those that endeavoured to write the report.

Its executive summary announces that “Instead of engaging in debate and making the difficult choices of nation-states, such as how to weigh sovereignty and security concerns with human rights, these NGOs advance their political agenda regardless of the wider impact of their actions.” The report claims that NGOs working in the field are ” invest[ing] vast budgets in their public relations campaigns in order to identify Israel as a pariah state whose justice system refuses to punish violators of the most serious crimes.”

The report speaks of the lawsuits that NGOs have submitted transnationally but does not make note of the fact that the reason this is done is in an attempt to remedy the lack of judicial accountability, and challenge the cooperation between the judicial and executive arms, which has turned the Israeli Supreme Court into the face of the occupation and its principal mechanism for self-justification. The Israeli Supreme Court is known to consistentantly side with the government and the security services who use vague secret evidence and general security considerations to systematically violate human rights and international humanitarian law with complete impunity. Its decisions are unreasoned and its use of international law selective and manipulative (to take note only of a few of such judicial instances see here, here,  here and here).

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