European-backed NGOs are flooding Israel’s courts with cases in an attempt to circumvent the democratic process and change Israeli policies, a report by the NGO Monitor research institute claims.
According to the report, the UK, EU, and Norway provide millions of dollars annually to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) for massive and unheard-of political campaigns that exploit Israel’s legal system. Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor said the NRC’s actions stand in sharp contrast to its ostensibly humanitarian agenda, as they focus on some of the most complex and sensitive political issues in the Arab-Israeli context, while also working closely with the Palestinian Authority in coordinating its advocacy campaigns, in violation of the principle of neutrality in humanitarian aid.
The report states that since 2009, the NRC has opened thousands of cases in Israeli courts in support of efforts to challenge laws and practices to which it objects. In 2018, NRC’s flagship legal program aims to pursue 5,399 opened and continuing cases for legal assistance in Judea and Samaria (1162 cases new and 4237 continuing ones), as well as 10 cases to be submitted to the UN and/or other international mechanisms. According to the report, the petitions to Israeli courts are aimed both at affecting policy, but also are a means of Palestinian activists to jam up the court systems as a form of protest, making it difficult for Israel’s bureaucracy to function.
“This is clearly a strategy of the NRC, the Norwegian Government, the EU, British and all the other governments involved, this is clearly not a local palestinian strategy,” NGO Monitor founder and president Professor Gerald Steinberg, told Tazpit Press Service.
A earlier press release put out by NGO Monitor said that the “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. No other country in the world is subject to this kind of legal manipulation.”