Israeli gov’t seeks deadline extension for presenting aid statistics to High Court

Several NGOs have accused Israel of withholding aid from Gaza.

By David Isaac, JNS

The Netanyahu government requested a five-day extension from Israel’s High Court on Wednesday—the deadline set by the court last week—to provide it with information on the amount of aid entering Gaza.

At the conclusion of an initial hearing on April 4, in which the court heard a petition by several NGOs accusing Israel of withholding aid to Gaza, the court decided it wouldn’t make a ruling until it had seen data provided by the government.

The petition was submitted by five groups: Gisha, HaMoked, Physicians for Human Rights–Israel, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Adalah. All five have a history of petitioning the High Court to undermine government policy.

The petitioners alleged Israel was preventing the “delivery of aid through obstacles it piles up on the inspection of aid and its entry through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, as well as its distribution throughout Gaza.”

NGO Monitor, an Israel-based group that tracks nonprofit organizations hostile to the Jewish state, noted the problematic nature of the sources the petitioners cited.

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“The use of biased and non-specialized NGOs as the primary sources for this petition once again demonstrates how the anti-Israel echo chamber operates,” Itai Reuveni, director of communications at NGO Monitor, told JNS.

“The same U.N. agencies that ignored Hamas’s abuse of humanitarian assistance for more than a decade and the same NGOs that demonized Israel with half-truths are now presenting themselves as trustworthy sources of data,” he said.

Sources cited by the petitioners included U.N. aid agency OCHA, UNICEF and UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency), recently in the news for employing Hamas terrorists.

NGO Monitor noted that OCHA works with groups “leading the campaign to delegitimize Israel as a perpetrator of ethnic cleansing and apartheid.”

For the past decade, UNICEF has run a working group seeking to blacken Israel’s name and link it to a list of the world’s worst human-rights offenders, including Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and the Taliban.

“Some working groups providing the data [sourced by the petitioners] consist entirely of NGOs that support BDS, engage in lawfare, and are even affiliated with terrorist organizations,” said Reuveni.

The petitioners claim that organizations like UNICEF, and the senior employees of OCHA and other U.N. aid organizations, are “people who cannot be faulted,” that is to say, who are above suspicion.

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Also sourced in the petition are the American Friends Service Committee, which promotes BDS campaigns against Israel, Doctors Without Borders, which denies Hamas was present in Gaza hospitals, and the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, which organized the Mavi Marmara flotilla.

The petitioners also cited the March 18 report by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) multi-partner initiative, which claimed that 578,000 Gazans were facing “acute food insecurity.”

Although COGAT, the Israel Defense Ministry unit handling aid to Gaza, has already shown that report to be false, the court asked the state to address the IPC report specifically in its response.

Israel has long held that it is not restricting aid and any holdup in deliveries is due to obstacles on the Gaza side of the border.

On Wednesday, COGAT said that over 1,200 aid trucks entered Gaza in three days, but that due to the U.N’s “logistical failures” 500 trucks were stuck waiting on the Gazan side of the Kerem Shalom crossing.

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