REPORT: UK blocks investigation into anti-Israel NGO with ties to terrorism

The Jewish Chronicle published an exposé revealing that the United Kingdom transferred about $12.5 million to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), an NGO that claims to be humanitarian but actually has ties to terrorism.

REPORT: flooding the Israeli courts

Three years ago, NGO Monitor, a watchdog, issued a report titled Flooding the Courts: The Norwegian Refugee Council’s European-Funded Proxy War documenting these decidedly un-humanitarian activities. 

“NRC’s intensive involvement in the Israeli legal system, if carried out directly by its governmental donors, would be considered an unacceptable violation of international norms, including the principle of national sovereignty,” NGO Monitor wrote. “NRC also works closely with the Palestinian Authority (PA) in coordinating its advocacy campaigns, in violation of the principle of neutrality in humanitarian aid.”

This cooperation with the PA generates 600-800 new cases in the Israeli courts every year accusing Israel of various humanitarian violations. Many of the cases are appealed, multiplying the caseload exponentially with the implicit goal of overloading and disrupting the Israeli court system. 

“NGO Monitor research shows that many of the cases appear to be selected based on furthering NRC’s (and its state funders’) political goals, and not on humanitarian objectives,” NGO Monitor wrote. “Some of these cases ask the court to inappropriately rule on political, rather than legal grounds, in a manner that would undermine Israeli-Palestinian agreements such as the Oslo Accords.”

NRC subterfuge

The organization operates in a cloud of secrecy. 

“Donor governments and the NRC are highly secretive about their attempts to influence the internal affairs of Israel through the courts,” NGO Monitor wrote. “The UK’s Department for International Development’s (DFID) has repeatedly rejected Freedom of Information Requests (FOI) regarding meetings and coordination with NRC officials.”

The NRC’s $16.5 million annual budget is provided by Great Britain, the European Union, Sweden, Germany, the United Nations, and Norway. The US funds the NRC annually to the tune of over $20 million. 

Ties to terrorism

“Many of NRC’s partners promote BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) and lawfare campaigns against Israel and/or have ties to terrorist organizations.NRC’s politicized activities and partnerships violate the humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality, independence, and humanity. Its extensive involvement in legal advocacy also raises questions about the humanitarian visa it receives from Israel.”

In one alliance, the NRC funded Hamoked, a left-wing NGO based in Israel. Hamoked petitioned the High Court on behalf of terrorists to block the court-ordered demolition of their houses. The terrorists represented by Hamoked were guilty of carrying out some of the most horrific murders in Israel’s history.

“It is unclear how these endeavors fit within a humanitarian aid framework,” NGO Monitor wrote.

Another organization aided by NRC is the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) whose founder and director, Raji Sourani, 

In 2018, Yasser Murtaja, an NRC officer, was killed during a violent Hamas-led attempt to challenge the southern border security fence separating Israel from Gaza. Murtaja was reporting on the conflict to NRC. Israel was widely condemned for Murtaja’s death. It was later revealed that he was an officer in Hamas for several years. in 2015, Murtaja had attempted to bring a drone into Gaza to aid in Hamas’s intelligence gathering. The sources told Walla! that Murtaja was constantly in contact with senior officials in Hamas’s internal security mechanism and many of those officials attended his funeral. 

UK blocking inquiries

NGO Monitor is attempting to continue monitoring NRC activities but is being stymied by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), a UKM governmental department, which now claims that the NRC is exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests. 

In a statement this week, the FCDO said, “The UK is a strong friend of Israel but our concerns about demolitions and evictions of Palestinians from their homes are long-standing and well-known.”

“Our funding to the Norwegian Refugee Council is part of a program to provide legal aid for Palestinians facing demolitions and evictions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This program has been outlined by the FCDO to Parliament.”

 


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