NGO Monitor May 14, 2012
Leaked documents on Arab-Israeli conflict promote misinformation from NGO grantees
- Since 2010, six documents from the offices of EU representatives in Israel and the Palestinian Authority – dealing with the central, complex, and sensitive issues of Israeli policy in Jerusalem, “Area C,” the status of Israeli-Arab citizens, and the allegations of settler violence – have been leaked to the Israeli and international media. The documents repeat many of the false, inaccurate or misleading allegations made by a select group of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are based in Israel and the Palestinian Authority but receive much of their funding from the EU and member states.
- European officials failed to exercise due diligence in verifying many of the factual and legal claims made by these NGOs, nor did they consult a broader range of sources from a wide spectrum of political positions and with different forms of expertise.
- Relying on these distorted and one-sided reports, the EU documents make policy recommendations that, if implemented, may jeopardize Israeli security and lead to more conflict, tension, and perhaps violence in the region – including calls for changing “deployment of Israeli security forces” in the West Bank, and “Encouraging Israel to open the gates to the seam zone on a more regular basis without prior coordination.”
- The political advocacy NGOs quoted extensively in these EU papers include ICAHD, HaMoked, ACRI, Ir Amim, Yesh Din, and B’Tselem – all funded through secret processes by the EU and member states. These NGOs consistently present highly partisan positions, and the EU reports recycle their claims without critical analysis.
- These leaked publications reflect the damage, including poor policy planning, resulting from the close and non-transparent relationship between the EU and the political advocacy NGOs that they fund.
- The repeated leaking of internal EU documents based on false or unverifiable claims from EU-funded political NGOs violates the basic tenets of due diligence, diplomacy, and responsible government.
- Through Israeli and Palestinian NGOs, funded in non-transparent processes, the EU is attempting to force major changes in Israeli policy by circumventing democratic structures and diplomatic channels, while NGOs are marshalling foreign backing for positions repeatedly rejected by the majority of Israeli citizens.