January 21, 2019

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Anti-Israel NGO @Gisha_Access has "FAQ" on "Great Return March" without mentioning the word "Return"


The Israeli NGO Gisha, which is dedicated to helping Gazans have “freedom of movement,” published a “Frequently Asked Questions” document about the weekly riots at the Gaza border.

Here’s how they describe their seven page document:

 What precipitated the current wave of protests in Gaza? 

To promote a better understanding of the situation in Gaza, one that goes beyond the provocative, but reductive explanations making headlines in recent weeks, we have compiled key elements of Gisha’s research and professional analysis so as to provide answers to some frequently asked questions about the Gaza Strip.

The weekly demonstrations are called by their organizers the “Great Return March.” They make it explicitly clear that the point of the riots is to storm the Gaza fence and enter Israel en masse, in an attempt to publicize the Palestinian “Right of Return” and flood Israel with millions of Palestinians, destroying the Jewish state.

Yet this joke of an NGO does not mention a word about this. Even the name of the riots, “Great Return March,” is somehow missing in this “professional analysis.

No, the only reason that the “researchers” at Gisha can find for the riots is – Israeli restrictions on Gaza. 

For more than 10 years, residents of Gaza have lived under excessively harsh restrictions on movement implemented through Israel’s closure of the Strip’s land, sea and air space. 

Gisha answers the question of “What precipitated the current wave of protests in Gaza?” by taking pains not to mention what the protests are about. The explicit demands of the organizers, and of their Hamas sponsors, are not mentioned:

Regardless of the political affiliation of the protestors, who organized the protest, or the agenda they wish to promote, international law prohibits the use of lethal force against civilians unless they participate directly in acts of hostility or pose a concrete risk to life, and even then, only as a last resort and only to the extent necessary to alleviate the risk

This is not only deceptive – it is demeaning to Palestinians .The very group that claims to want to improve the lives of Gazans is telling their Western audience not to listen to what Gazans themselves say about the protests, but only listen to their own spin. The message being given is that Gazans cannot be trusted to define their own feelings and motivations. The good people at Gisha know Gazans better than Gazans know themselves, and letting Palestinians explain their own point of view would just muddy the crystal-clear anti-Israel waters that Gisha is trying to create.

It is NGO-splaining.

The rest of this document that blames Israel, and only Israel, descends into farce at times. In answer to the question “Why does Gisha place responsibility on Israel and not on Hamas?”, after saying how horrible Israel is, it allows that

Hamas, as the de facto government and also as a party to conflict, is subject to international humanitarian and human rights law as well. Its violations of these do not relieve Israel of its obligations. 

Which means that this is another question that Gisha raises and does not answer in its own FAQ. If they know that Hamas has the legal obligation towards its own people, then why doesn’t Gisha write anything negative about Hamas (unless shamed into it?)

It also blames Israel, and only Israel, for the PLO’s decision to block electricity and fuel to Gaza. Why should a FAQ actually mention any facts?

The FAQ goes on to reluctantly mention that Gaza has a border with Egypt that is almost always closed, but it doesn’t demand that Egypt do anything, just as it doesn’t demand anything of Hamas.

Only Israel is the blame for violent riots that are explicit calls to overrun Israeli territory. That’s Gisha’s position, and facts are inconvenient things to be swatted away.

I have a question for Gisha to answer in their next FAQ: Why are you afraid to mention the truth about Gaza? The answer, of course, is that their European funders aren’t interested in facts or nuance, but in blaming Israel.

That’s where the money is.

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