NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
June 5, 2008
Focus: “Global Report on Child Soldiers” erases terrorist recruitment of children
The “Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers,” which includes major NGOs such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Defence for Children International and International Save the Children Alliance, published its global report on May 20, 2008.
The credibility of the sections on Israel and the Palestinians is highly questionable, as shown by to NGO Monitor’s analysis and research on the Coalition and its partner, Defence for Children International – Palestine section (DCI/PS):
Click here to view NGO Monitor's full report.
Human Rights Watch's press release on this issue reflected the Global Report's strong bias and selective reporting. HRW included claims that "Palestinian children were used … as human shields by the Israel Defense Forces," that "Israel ... [was] among the countries where there were allegations of ill-treatment or torture of child detainees" and in "the Occupied Palestinian Territories, … teenagers were used in suicide attacks. " However, there was no mention of Palestinian terrorists' targeting of Israeli children, or Palestinian grooming of children for terrorism.
Durban Review Conference – April 2009: Update on Developments
NGO Monitor's new Durban Review Conference (DRC) webpage includes up-to-date information on the DRC: NGO participation, government statements, the Preparatory Committee meetings, and other relevant NGO developments. NGO Monitor's blog now posts frequent “Durban Review Summaries,” including the most relevant news items related to NGOs at the DRC.
The UN resumed its Preparatory Committee Meetings last week and selected Geneva as the location for the DRC, which will take place April 20-24, 2009. Meanwhile, European policymakers continue to consider boycotting the conference. On May 14, the U.K. Minister for Europe Jim Murphy issued a statement saying that it would consider boycotting the DRC if it “exhibits the degree of anti-Semitism that was disgracefully on view on the previous occasion.” Similarly, on May 18, Dutch Interior Minister Maxime Verhagen said that the Netherlands would not hesitate to withdraw from the DRC if there are any attempts to label Israel a racist state.
NGO Monitor evaluates Amnesty International’s 2007 Agenda
Amnesty criticizes Palestinians, Israel. By Jonny Paul, The Jerusalem Post, May 28, 2008
NGOs protest Israel’s independence, commemorate ‘Naqba’ instead
NGOs including War on Want, ICAHD, Pax Christi, and Amos Trust supported a demonstration on May 10, in London, England, in “opposition to 60 years of Israeli policies and displacement, destruction and occupation and in solidarity with the Palestinian people.”
Friends of Sabeel dedicated a meeting to “mourn[. . . ] six decades of the nakba”, in which speakers advocated a “one state solution”, meaning the end of Israel as a Jewish state. Defence for Children International / Palestinian section also released a special report on May 15, 2008, "Nakba 60: No more generations of Palestinian refugee children," which describes the "fear … deprivation, and …daily military violence under the Israeli occupation," while erasing all Palestinian responsibility and terrorism.
PHR-I admits errors, but campaign continues
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel falsely reported the death of a live Gaza cancer patient awaiting a permit to enter Israel, calling into question the credibility of the organization's research. Nevertheless, PHR-I continued to petition Israel’s High Court of Justice to allow Gazans into Israel despite the court’s repeated refusal. Amnesty International issued an urgent action utilizing the terminology of “collective punishment” in support of PHR-I’s campaign.
On the other hand, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel made a positive contribution to its mandate in analyzing the distribution of medical devices in Israel (link to Hebrew report), noting the disproportionate concentration of medical equipment in the Center of the country.
ADALAH and ACRI resume attacks on Israel citizenship law
The Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) petitioned the Israel High Court of Justice to overturn a law that denies Israeli citizenship to Palestinians married to Israeli Arabs.
See NGO Monitor’s submission to the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) for Adalah’s disregard of the security context of the legislation and distortions of international law in its position.
B'tselem warns Israel in its condemnation of rocket fire on Ashkelon
In an April 28, 2008 statement, B’Tselem accused Israel of falsifying claims regarding removal of security checkpoints, under pressure from the US government. The NGO claimed that some checkpoints had not been removed, or were rebuilt in order to dismantle them on camera. B’Tselem demands that Israel “immediately remove all restrictions on movement inside the West Bank and… concentrate its efforts to protect Israelis on checkpoints between the West Bank and Israel.”
On May 15, 2008, B'Tselem released a statement condemning the rocket fire on Ashkelon as "war crimes." The NGO acknowledged that "It is not only Israel's right but its duty to protect its citizens" but warned that "fulfillment of this duty must employ measures that are consistent with the demands of international humanitarian law (IHL). Israel must consider all its actions in light of the principles of IHL, and act in a proportionate manner, distinguishing between civilians and combatants."
Human Rights Watch, PHR-I, Gisha "Letter to President Bush" filled with inaccuracies
Human Rights Watch (HRW), Gisha and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel published a joint "Letter to President Bush on the situation in Gaza," on May 12, 2008. This document accuses Israel of "collective punishment against the [Gazan] civilian population, a serious violation of international humanitarian law" and labels Israel the "occupying power in Gaza."
See David Rivkin and Lee Casey's op-ed in the Washington Post demonstrating the legal fallacy of this argument.
However, in an uncommon statement on intra-Palestinian human rights abuses, HRW's May 30, 2008 press release, "Gaza: Investigate Abduction, Torture by Islamic Jihad," criticizes Hamas as well as Fatah for arbitrary arrests, torture and due process violations.
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