- Oldest Palestinian NGO
- Participated in anti-semitic U.N. World Conference Against Racism
Founded in 1979 by a group of Palestinian lawyers, Al-Haq is an independent Palestinian human-rights NGO and an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists. It has held special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 1999. Al-Haq’s mission is to “advocat[e] nationally and internationally to promote the rule of law and respect for human rights in the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territories], through legal research, documentation, and building capacity to address violations of the individual and collective rights of Palestinians under international law, irrespective of the identity of the perpetrator.” Toward that end, Al-Haq publishes highly politicized reports, papers, books, and legal analyses regarding alleged Israeli human-rights abuses committed against Palestinians; many of these reports are submitted to the UN Human Rights Council and other international bodies. Al-Haq also advocates on behalf of Palestinians before local, regional and international organizations.
In its writings and advocacy, Al-Haq frequently accuses Israel of “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity,” and has even suggested that “serious allegations that genocide may have been committed by individual [Israeli] soldiers in the Gaza Strip must … be investigated.” In May 2009, Al-Haq issued a paper referring to Israel as a “racist, apartheid colonial state” whose “regime of systematic oppression and domination” was guilty of subjecting Palestinians to virtual captivity in “reserves and ghettoes.” In a similar vein, Al-Haq co-founder Charles Shamas has likened Israeli policy to “apartheid” and “genocide.”
By contrast, Shamas portrays Palestinian terrorism as a justifiable form of “resistance” against “an Occupying Power’s unlawful and predatory abuses of its control over that population and their habitat.” Likewise, Al-Haq’s former General Director and current board member, Randa Siniora, has impugned Israel for characterizing the Palestinian people’s “legitimate” campaign of “resistance and struggle against occupation” – and their pursuit of “liberation and independence” – as “‘terrorism’” In 2015 Al-Haq published a politicized report that referred to Hamas terrorists who had been firing massive numbers of deadly rockets indiscriminately into Israel, as “Palestinians linked to the resistance.”
Al-Haq was an active participant in the 2001 United Nations World Conference against Racism (held in Durban, South Africa), which: (a) focused a disproportionate share of its attention and condemnation on the policies and alleged transgressions of Israel and the United States, and (b) promoted the use of legal and political tactics to isolate and publicly demonize Israel on the world stage.
Al-Haq is a leader of the anti-Israel “lawfare” movement, a term connoting a war that is being waged against the Jewish state in the courtroom, by means of: (a) lawsuits filed against companies and governments that do business with Israel; (b) efforts to persuade courts and international legal bodies to impose boycotts and embargoes on Israel; and (c) demands for the issuance of arrest warrants against Israeli public officials accused of human-rights violations. Some examples:
- In 2006 and 2009, Al-Haq filed lawsuits aimed at forcing the British government to stop granting export licenses to Israel.
- In 2008, Al-Haq filed a suit accusing three Canadian corporations involved in construction projects in the disputed West Bank “settlement” town of Kiryat Sefer (a.k.a. Modi’in Illit), of “aiding, abetting, assisting and conspiring with the State of Israel, the Occupying Power in the West Bank, in carrying out an illegal act.”
- In September 2009, Al-Haq worked with Al-Mezan to secure an arrest warrant in the United Kingdom against Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
- In December 2009, Al-Haq supported the arrest warrant that Hamas had secured in the UK against former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who, by Al-Haq’s telling, bore “special responsibility for the war crimes and possible crimes against humanity that characterized Israel’s actions during the assault on Gaza” — a reference to the military incursion known as Operation Cast Lead, which Israel had recently launched.
- In March 2010, Al-Haq filed a criminal complaint in the Netherlands against the Dutch corporation Riwal, alleging that the company’s sale of construction equipment in Israel – equipment that was used in development projects in West Bank “settlements” – constituted “complicity in war crimes.”
- Al-Haq has lobbied hard to pressure the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to open an investigation against Israel, and has assisted the Palestinian Authority with its ICC filings against Israelis. In October 2013, Al-Haq and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights met with the OTP and presented a legal opinion accusing Israel of “widespread and systematic commission of international crimes and violations of international law.”
Al-Haq is a leader of the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) campaign, a Hamas-inspired initiative that aims to use various forms of public protest, economic pressure, and court rulings to advance the Hamas agenda of permanently destroying Israel as a Jewish nation-state. In 2013 Al-Haq issued a position paper titled “Feasting on the Occupation,” which exhorted the European Union and “relevant United Nations bodies” to boycott Israeli produce as punishment for Israel’s “illegal conduct,” “extensive destruction and appropriation of Palestinian resources,” and “violations of international humanitarian law.” Al-Haq board member Liza Traki is a vocal supporter of BDS and was a co-founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.
Al-Haq and its fellow BDS supporters believe that the Arab-Israeli conflict can best be resolved by means of a one-state solution, where a Jewish minority and a Palestinian majority would live side-by-side – thereby spelling the permanent end of Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. As Al-Haq board member Izzat Abdulhadi, who also serves as head of the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia and New Zealand, has written: “If there cannot be two states, there will be one, and it will have a Palestinian majority.” Another Al-Haq board member, Jonathan Kuttab, has likewise advocated a one-state solution.
Al Haq’s General Director, Shawan Jabarin, is a senior activist with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization. In the 1980s, Israeli courts found him guilty of arranging PFLP training outside Israel and sentenced him to 24 months in prison, of which he served 9. In 1994 Jabarin was again arrested for his continued involvement with PFLP. Because of his ties to the terror group, he has been denied exit visas by Israel and Jordan.
Al-Haq is a member of the of the International Federation of Human Rights, the Habitat International Coalition, the World Organization Against Torture, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, the Palestinian NGO Network, and the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council.
For additional information on Al-Haq, click here.