Israeli government repeats false accusations against Norwegian People’s Aid
The Israeli authorities have published a report repeating false accusations against Norwegian People’s Aid and other organisations critical of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
“The report is an attempt to silence organisations that criticise Israel. Such attempts to delegitimise critics and attack their sources of funding is increasingly common. The Norwegian government should reject the contents of the report, as the EU already has” said Henriette Westhrin, Secretary General of Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA).
The Israeli government has made it clear that it is engaged in a coordinated campaign against organisations critical to the occupation. The report, which was published earlier this week, is an updated version of a report published by Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy in May 2018. The second edition repeats insinuations and false accusations against NPA and other organisations, and calls on the EU to cut their funding.
NPA has called on the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to reject the contents of the report. The EU has already deemed the accusations made in the report “unfounded and unacceptable” .
NPA does not advocate for boycott
In the report, Norwegian People’s Aid is accused of advocating for a boycott of the state of Israel.
“NPA works to promote respect for international law and human rights, and to ensure that Norwegian companies and institutions avoid contributing to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. We do not advocate for a boycott of the state of Israel,” said Westhrin.
NPA follows the same line as the EU and UN concerning international law and the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. The EU has been consistent in its principled support for international law. The EU has issued guidelines on labelling products from illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories; over 20 EU member states have issued advisories warning its business sector against financial links with the illegal settlements; and settlement entities have been barred from accessing EU funds. Norwegian People’s Aid works to ensure that the Norwegian authorities follow the EU’s good example.
“While we do not advocate for a boycott of Israel, it is a matter of concern that organisations that support a boycott of Israel are criminalised and refused access to Israel and Palestine. This is a violation of the fundamental rights of free speech and association,” said Westhrin.
False accusations of terror financing
In their report, the Israeli government repeat their false accusation that NPA has been involved in terror financing. The background for these accusations is a settlement Norwegian People’s Aid agreed to with the US Department of Justice after claims that NPA had not followed the requirements of a humanitarian contract we signed with USAID in 2012. NPA strongly disagreed with USAID’s interpretation of the contract and believed that the demands from the US authorities were unreasonable. Nevertheless, we decided to settle the case in order to avoid lengthy and expensive proceedings in American courts. Later on, it became clear that the case against NPA was based on a claim filed by a third party, an American pro-Israel activist running The Zionist Advocacy Center. TZAC received a percentage of the settlement.
Palestinians in the occupied territories live daily under a repressive occupation and blockade, which have gone on for far too long. Ending the occupation requires a strong Palestinian civil society and international pressure. Change will not come by itself. Norwegian People’s Aid will always support the right of Palestinians and Israelis to live in peace and security, as well the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to independence and freedom from repression, occupation and forced exile.