- Anti-Israel NGO that aims to assist Palestinians whose human rights are allegedly violated by Israeli authorities
HaMoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual is a registered Israeli nongovernmental organization (NGO) that was established in 1988 by Dr. Lotte Salzberger, under the original name “Hotline for Victims of Violence.” Its purpose is “to assist Palestinians subjected to the Israeli occupation which causes severe and ongoing violation of their rights.” HaMoked alleges that Israeli authorities systematically oppress and abuse innocent Palestinians in a host of ways, via such measures as “collective punishment,” “torture,” “deportations,” “forcible transfers,” “grave human rights violations,” “apartheid” policies, “restrictions on freedom of movement,” “violations of the right to family life,” unjustified “house demolitions,” and the “ghetto-ization of the West Bank.”
HaMoked deals regularly with Palestinians claiming to have been mistreated by Israeli personnel and institutions. In such cases, the organization contacts the alleged transgressors and, when necessary, files legal claims and submits petitions to the High Court of Justice. HaMoked also works to introduce policy changes and legislative amendments “that would improve the status of [Palestinian] human rights in the Occupied Territories.”
For many years, HaMoked has published reports condemning a wide array of alleged Israeli abuses. In its 2002 Annual Report, for example, the organization devoted nearly 100 pages to a discussion of “human rights violations [committed] by Israel against Palestinians” during the course of that year alone. But the report was silent with regard to the violence and killings that Palestinian terrorists had perpetrated against innocent Israeli civilians. “Nowhere does the report even acknowledge that these terrorist actions help to explain why the Israeli government took the steps condemned in the HaMoked report,” said NGO Monitor. “These steps include the relocation of people involved in support of terrorist attacks, house demolitions, and limitations on the freedom of movement. HaMoked does not include a single mention of the 420 Israeli fatalities in 2002 – including 45 children – and thousands wounded – rendering the entire analysis a highly cynical anti-Israel exercise devoid of moral content.”
In the same 2002 Annual Report, HaMoked misleadingly described known Palestinian suicide bombers and their accomplices as “individuals who were suspected of being involved in terrorist activity against Israel” (emphasis added). Moreover, the document falsely accused Israel of deliberately demolishing houses in Jenin – a hotbed of Palestinian terrorist activity – while residents were still inside.
HaMoked has long opposed Israel’s construction of a separation barrier in the West Bank, a project that began in 2003 and was necessitated by the scores of suicide bombings and daily terrorist attacks that had killed hundreds of Israelis (and wounded thousands more) since the start of the Second Palestinian Intifada in September 2000. In a 2009 petition condemning this barrier, HaMoked wrote that there was “no difference” between the “apartheid” it engendered, “and the racial segregation regime in the southern states of the USA in the first half of the 20th century.”
In “co-operation”with the international development organization Diakonia, HaMoked in 2003 published an Online Legal Library which, according to NGO Monitor, “included documents providing a distorted view or incorrect analysis of international law in order to criminalize Israeli actions.”
In 2013 HaMoked issued a report claiming to expose “the destructive bureaucratic mechanism which governs the daily lives of Palestinians under the permit regime inside the ‘seam zone’” – a reference to the areas of the West Bank situated between the separation barrier and the so-called Green Line, the latter of which served as Israel’s de facto border from 1949-67.
From time to time, HaMoked works closely with a number of other highly politicized NGOs, including such notables as Adalah, Al-Haq, Amnesty International, Betselem, Human Rights Watch, the International Solidarity Movement, LAW, Machsom Watch, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel.
Among HaMoked’s major funders over the years have been the European Union, the Ford Foundation, the International Commission of Jurists, the New Israel Fund, and the governments of Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands. From 2012-14, donations from foreign governments accounted for 85.3% of total contributions made to HaMoked.