In November 2017, the EU approved a $314,000, four-year grant to Israeli NGO Yesh Din, to fund increasing “Israeli security forces personnel (ISFP) accountability for forcible home entries in line with democratic standards and international humanitarian and human rights law,” NGO Monitor reported Sunday.
In other words, soldiers and Border Guard officers who carry out search warrants and subpoenas against terror suspects—on a nightly basis almost—in order to prevent the next terror attack in Judea and Samaria or in greenline Israel, could be hauled to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.
Yesh Din is working in partnership with Breaking the Silence and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I).
In a funding appeal submitted to the UN, Yesh Din claims: “…the [Israeli] military justice system grants nearly complete impunity for Israeli security forces personnel and their conduct” regarding “Forcible Home Entries (FHEs).” The three Israeli groups intend to address these supposed deficiencies by “appealing decisions to close investigations on a case-by-case basis” and “filing petitions with the High Court of Justice on specific cases and principled matters.”
This project and the rhetoric surrounding it are part of a wider “lawfare” strategy of pressing “war crime” cases against Israeli officials in foreign courts and in the ICC, according to NGO Monitor, which says the threat of ICC intervention and other examples of lawfare is a central concern for Israeli decision-makers.
This is not the first example of Yesh Din receiving EU funding to accuse Israeli soldiers of criminal behavior. In 2011-2013, the EU granted Yesh Din $175,000 to “change Israeli policy vis-a-vis criminal accountability of Israeli Security Forces Personnel in the occupied Palestinian Territories, in such a way that acknowledges and takes into account the severity and the different nature of War Crimes, as distinguished from regular, domestic crimes.”
Yesh Din regularly publishes statistics and findings that accuse Israel and the IDF of impunity towards soldiers’ alleged illegal behavior. An NGO Monitor analysis has concluded that Yesh Din’s figures are often misleading.
Yesh Din is a longtime partner of an EU- and UK-funded program, managed by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), which bombards Israeli courts with hundreds of cases each year. NGO Monitor notes that the project includes “preparation and submission of Freedom of Information requests,” which is ironic, since the EU systematically refuses to release documents related to its own funding for anti-Israel Arab and Israeli NGOs.