Sunday, March 4, 2018

Dear UNICEF: Using information from sources that are affiliated with terrorism, is not child's play - by Nadav Shragai

...According to the Fatah website, Adamir is a branch of the PFLP. We should perhaps clarify that the U.N. does not classify the PFLP as a terrorist organization, the same way it does not class Hamas as one. It might be easier for UNICEF to take in data from Adamir without suspecting that something is off.

Nadav Shragai..
Israel Hayom..
02 March '18..

In 2005, Salah Hamori plotted to kill former Chief Sephardi Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. He spent seven years in an Israeli prison and was freed as part of the deal to bring home captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. For the past few years, Hamori has had a new career. He became an investigator for the Adamir organization, which spearheads a campaign of support for Palestinians who were convicted of security crimes, casting them as political prisoners.

Some Adamir activists are also associated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a terrorist group. A few have even served prison time for activity for or contact with that organization. Adamir describes the terrorist stabbing in Halamish last summer in which Yosef, Elad and Chaya Salomon were stabbed to death in their home as the "Halamish operation" which culminated in the deaths of three settlers.

Adamir wouldn't be worth our notice if it and other organizations like it weren't working to put the IDF on a U.N. blacklist of "grave violators of children's rights." Other names on the list include the Islamic State, al-Qaida and the Taliban. Adamir is no longer a curiosity to be dismissed.

Although Adamir isn't officially part of the UNICEF-led working group called Children Affected by Armed Conflict, which collects information on and reports "grave violations against children in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory," and which theoretically obligates contributors to be neutral and impartial regarding the conflict, it is a partner in UNICEF's information collecting project and therefore receives funding from them. It's hard to imagine anything farther from neutrality or impartiality than Adamir.

According to the Fatah website, Adamir is a branch of the PFLP. We should perhaps clarify that the U.N. does not classify the PFLP as a terrorist organization, the same way it does not class Hamas as one. It might be easier for UNICEF to take in data from Adamir without suspecting that something is off.

The story of Hamori and Adamir as a source of information to UNICEF is just one example of the problematic use of biased sources of information that pretend to be supplying objective data for the biased, blatantly anti-Israel reports that UNICEF has been issuing on children's rights these past few years.

The blacklist to which UNICEF's information collectors are trying to add the IDF is part of an appendix to the Annual Report of the [U.N.] Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflict, which the U.N. head has issued 17 times since 2001. The appendix is designed to call the U.N. Security Council's attention to countries or nongovernmental entities that recruit and use children as soldiers and prompt the U.N. to take steps against them (including sanctions), in accordance with the evidence presented.


The organizations in UNICEF-Palestine's databank star in a new report from the NGO Monitor research institute, which for years has been tracking international NGOs campaign to delegitimize Israel under the guise of advocating for human rights. The new report, which is just now being published, focuses on UNICEF, its working group, and other organizations that partner with the information collection project and receive funding from UNICEF. Hamori and Adamir aren't alone.

The report reveals that the working group that supplies UNICEF with "incriminating" information about the IDF – which was then used in reports issued as part of campaigns to delegitimize Israel – includes the organization Defense for Children International Palestine.

This innocently named group has been at the forefront of a campaign titled No Way to Treat a Child whose stated purpose is "to challenge Israel's prolonged military occupation of Palestinians by exposing widespread and systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system." Only two years ago, it accused Israel of using a "shoot to kill" policy.

Some members of DCI Palestine maintain ties with the PFLP. NGO Monitor researchers discovered that Hashem Abu Maria, an employee, was described by the PFLP after his death as a "comrade" and a "martyred leader."

Mahmoud Jeddah, who was in prison in Israel for 17 years for throwing grenades at Israeli civilians in Jerusalem in 1968, is a former member of the board of directors of DCI Palestine and a member of the PFLP.

Another supplier of information to UNICEF is the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, which does not meet the UNICEF criteria for members of its working group to be "neutral, uninvolved, and independent of all sides in the conflict."

The PCHR is one of the groups at the forefront of the legal war against Israel. In the past, it tried to have Israeli officials arrested throughout Europe and worked to have the British government arrest former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni arrested for alleged war crimes committed during Operation Cast Lead. The PCHR also took Israel to the International Criminal Court in the Hague for supposed war crimes and crimes against humanity it claimed Israel committed during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.

In 2010, the PCHR strongly condemned the rededication of the refurbished Hurva Synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem, which the Jordanians bombed in 1948. The group called it a "war crime" – the reopening of the synagogue, not its bombing. The PCHR has often denied that terrorist attacks are perpetrated against Israeli civilians. In February 2014, the PFLP organized a ceremony in the Gaza Strip to mark its founder Raji al-Surani being awarded the Right Livelihood Award, otherwise known as the "Alternative Nobel Prize." The keynote speaker was Dr. Rabah Muhanna, a member of the PFLP's political bureau.

'Paralyze the banks'

But according to the NGO Monitor research, the UNICEF databank, which tries to frame Israel for its so-called treatment of Palestinian children, also includes members of EAPPI – the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel – a project launched in 2002 by the World Council of Churches. EAPPI brings volunteers on tourist visas to the West Bank for three-month stays. The program frequently uses inciting rhetoric that slanders Israel and is even anti-Semitic. Participants in the program present a one-sided Palestinian narrative, take part in Palestinian activities to commemorate the Nakba (catastrophe) – the founding of the State of Israel – and according to the NGO Monitor's report, "promote a [Palestinian ] right of return, accused Israel of apartheid and war crimes, and support the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement upon returning to their home countries."

One South African EAPPI volunteer called to shut down the Israeli banking system, claiming that "it's time to say that the victims of the Holocaust have become the oppressors." An English activist claimed that the situation in Judea and Samaria was reminiscent of what the British did to the aboriginal people in Australia.

The most notable UNICEF report on this issue, titled "Children in Israeli Military Detention: Observations and Recommendations" was published in February 2013, and has since been referenced repeatedly throughout the world. The report concludes that "ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized" at every stage of the detention process, "from apprehension to court proceedings and outcome."

The UNICEF-Palestine reports play down the circumstances in which terrorist organizations egregiously exploit Palestinian children and inculcate them from a young age with tales of shahada (martyrdom), vengeance, and hatred of Jews, Zionists and Israel.

So this is how it works: Biased information is collected by groups that are already hostile to Israel, some of which maintain ties to terrorist movements, and inserted into UNICEF reports, which are then quoted by the U.N. secretary general, and down the line by international officials who are also hostile to Israel as part of a broader campaign to delegitimize the entire country.

In November 2017, U.S. Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) introduced H.R. 4391, the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act, which would require the U.S. secretary of state to "certify that American funds do not support Israel’s military detention, interrogation, abuse or ill-treatment of Palestinian children." McCollum's bill was then quoted in the UNICEF report, which among other things determined that the Israeli military's system of detention for Palestinian children "deviated from international norms."

'Blow up the sons of Zion'

At the beginning of February, the British Parliament held a debate on the topic "Military detention of Palestinian children by Israeli authorities." The UNICEF report was referenced, as was an op-ed by Nour Tamimi in The Washington Post about her cousin Ahed Tamimi, who attacked an IDF soldier. About a month ago, the Palestinian Authority filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court against Israel for allegedly violating the rights of Palestinian children. It's likely that this complaint, too, rests on reports from UNICEF-Palestine.

The biased data against Israel on the matter of Palestinian children are thrown into sharp relief because of another major void: "There is almost no evidence that UNICEF resources are going to expose the use of children for terrorist purposes, either in PA territory in the West Bank or in the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas," NGO Monitor researchers write.

"The UNICEF reports devote not a word to the Al-Aqsa summer camp, where Sheikh Khaled al-Mughrabi spoke to young children about the defense of Islam, shahada and virgins. There are no descriptions of how Palestinian mothers celebrate their children's deaths after they tried to stab or run over Jews and Israelis, and not even any mention of the Fatah Facebook page that features a picture of a mother putting an explosives belt on her son and explaining, 'The homeland needs you, my son. Go and blow up the sons of Zion.'"

While Hamas television cheers children who aspire to martyrdom, and Hamas children's programs describe death as "heroic," and child guests on Hamas programs watch recreations of their mother's suicide bombing attack – UNICEF chooses to focus on supposed violations of Palestinian children's rights by Israel, using information from some sources that are affiliated with terrorism.

What should UNICEF do? NGO Monitor's legal adviser Anne Herzberg thinks that the only option the organization has is to dismantle its working group and institute major reforms.

"Until that happens, donor nations should stop any more funding to the agency," she says.

"UNICEF pretends to defend children in the region, but at the same time it is a partner in funding NGOs with ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which uses BDS activists to collect information, and refuses to include in its reports information about the Palestinians recruiting and using children as soldiers. The reliability of UNICEF has been damaged," Herzberg says.

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