In the publication of the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, the Commission of Inquiry determined that it contained information pointing to the fact that both Israel and Hamas committed war crimes during the fighting in the summer of 2014. The members of the Commission of Inquiry hinted in the report to the possibility that Israel’s top officials are responsible for a policy which led to the commission of war crimes by the Israeli Defense Forces. The Commission of Inquiry’s chairperson, Judge Mary McGowan Davis, recommended that the international community take steps in wake of the report’s conclusions, chief among them supporting an investigation by the International Court of Justice situated in The Hague.
A reading of the report shows that key, central parts of the report are based in turn on reports presented before the United Nations by a number of organizations supported by the New Israel Fund and by the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat, situated in al-Bireh, near Ramallah.
In response to the report and the accusations against it on the central part of the organizations which it supports in formulating this report, the New Israel Fund claimed that “Following last week’s release of the UN report on Operation “Protective Edge”, the usual argument was made by politicians and organizations from the right wing – “left wing organizations provided information for the report”. This is a mix of demagoguery and lies. Demagoguery – because the vast majority of information the organizations supposedly “provided to the UN commission of inquiry” was taken from their internet websites by use of copying and pasting”…
And yet, it seems that the New Israel Fund itself is the one using demagoguery and lies in order to repulse the claims made against them. At least four prominent organizations which are supported by the New Israel Fund presented their own reports to the United Nations, reports in which they accused the state of Israel and the Israeli Defense Forces of war crimes, violating international law, torture, and more.
The ‘Public Committee Against Torture in Israel’ (PCATI), for instance, filed a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council. In the report, the organization claims that the Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet) systematically tortures Palestinian detainees during the course of their interrogation, and that both soldiers and security forces make use of violence and humiliation, and at times torture as well, during the detainment and interrogation of Palestinians.
An additional examples is the ‘Adalah’ organization, which following Operation “Protective Edge” presented a report to the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict. This report dealt primarily with the Israeli Defense Forces’ lack of ability to adequately and properly investigate its own conduct during Operation “Protective Edge”, and the Israeli justice system’s lack of willingness to provide aid to Palestinians harmed as a result of the operation. So, for instance, the report stated that “Israel’s investigations into its 2014 Operation Protective Edge fall far short of the international standards of independence, impartiality, effectiveness, promptness and transparency… Israel’s probes are thus likely to lead, as they did in the past, to a lack of criminal investigations, prosecutions, and punishment of perpetrators of serious IHL and IHRL violations against Palestinians in Gaza.”
In this report, ‘Adalah’ also criticized the Israeli Supreme Court, as well as filing a list of complaints against the Israeli Defense Forces for war crimes, which are all being handled by ‘Adalah’. At the end of the report ‘Adalah’ called for the United Nations Commission of Inquiry to “Urge Israel to cease violating IHL and IHRL rules and norms…”
The organization ‘Physicians for Human Rights-Israel’, which as was mentioned above, receives funding and support from the New Israel Fund, published a report accusing Israel of severe violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law throughout Operation ‘Protective Edge”. The organization, in collaboration with the Palestinian organization ‘Al Mezan Center For Human Rights’, initiated a delegation of medical experts who traveled to Gaza in order to investigate suspicions regarding violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law during the conflict. The report concluded, among others, that “The incidents recorded at Khuza’a are in general indicative of several violations of human rights and international humanitarian law”.
Another organization which is supported by the New Israel Fund is ‘HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual’, which following Operation “Protective Edge” presented a report to the United Nations Commission of Inquiry. The report focused on humans rights violations they claim Israel carried out during the operation in five separate fields: detainee tracing, the right to freedom of movement, detainee rights, punitive house demolitions and respect for the dead. The report presents claims according to which the Israeli Defense Forces detained hundreds of Palestinians, leaving them vulnerable to ongoing violations of their rights, including the rights to due process, adequate holding conditions and the right to be free of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment. The United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict based many articles in the report on the data presented to it, and based on this data, noted that Israel did, in fact, violate international law in these fields, even criticizing the Israeli Supreme Court. Below are several examples from the United Nations report:
In conclusion: the New Israel Fund can’t downplay the severity of the actions of several of the organizations which it funds and supports, and justify them under the pretext that the United Nations are the ones who initiated the taking of the findings from the reports published by the above organizations. These organizations presented their information reports to the United Nations with their own hands, reports from which the conclusion is reached that the state of Israel and the Israeli Defense Forces are cruel occupiers committing war crimes and torture. It is specifically for this reason that the NGO Bill and Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), presented by MK Yinon Magal (Jewish Home) two weeks ago, must be passed into law.