Espanol / English

Middle East Near You

Israel’s ‘civil eliminations’ campaign spreads to Europe

Emergency Palestinian medical services [file photo]
File photo of [file photo]

As I outlined in a recent column, this year Israel declared the newest phase in its “war” against pro-Palestinian human rights groups and organisations. They have named their new tactic: “targeted civil eliminations”.

By inserting the word “civil” into their usual euphemism for cold-blooded assassination, Israeli officials are very deliberately sending out a message. It is a message of extreme violence.

Israeli death threats against Palestinian aid workers, humanitarians, journalists and poets are nothing new, but the “civil eliminations” campaign is a step-up in a particularly alarming and duplicitous campaign. It is mainly targeted at groups that support BDS, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

More recently, it spread to non-political charities and aid organisations in the Gaza Strip. The Gaza director of World Vision currently languishes in an Israeli dungeon based on entirely fabricated “evidence” concocted by Israeli spies who didn’t even bother to make their lies even superficially convincing.

But now it has reached Europe, to the alarm of its targets.

Workers at Palestinian human rights organisations operating with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague are the victims of a coordinated and sophisticated campaign of harassment and death threats. Dutch authorities are investigating, but it took the ICC stepping in for them to take it seriously.

Palestinian human rights organisations Al-Haq, Al-Mezan, PCHR, and Addameer have been working with ICC authorities, who have since January 2015 been conducting a preliminary examination into war crimes allegedly committed by Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza during the 2014 Israeli war on the coastal strip.

Israel wants to avoid this taking place, at almost any costs. And so it seems its dirty war has now spread to Europe.

Nada Kiswanson, a lawyer with Al-Haq working in The Hague, has received a steady stream of death threats for the last six months. She has been subjected to vicious and intimidating phone calls, emails and other forms of communication targeting her and her family.  Kiswanson accuses Israel of being the culprit. “It’s very clear that the reason I’m being threatened is because of the work that I do in Europe and particularly at the International Criminal Court,” she told the Associated Press.

The complex and coordinated nature of the campaign suggests she is right to suspect Israel.

Only one day after buying an anonymous prepaid mobile phone, Kiswanson was subjected to threatening calls. She told Reuters that one of her relatives in Sweden was called and told that Kiswanson would be “eliminated”. Amnesty International has condemned the threats and called on Dutch authorities to do more to protect human rights workers.

Al-Mezan, a Gaza-based human right group, also received death threats targeting one of its workers. The staff member, working in Europe on the ICC case, received an email with an attached photo of the exterior of his home reading “you deserve to see your loved ones suffer and die. But maybe you would be hurt before them.”

Human Rights Watch condemned the threats against Al-Mezan and Al-Haq as reprehensible.

This sinister campaign follows a similar dirty war strategy against Al-Haq earlier this year, during which its workers and their families were threatened and harassed, and false claims of corruption were spread against it in a whispering campaign aimed at tarnishing its reputation.

Speaking to the Associated Press, an Israeli official said: “We do not react to such preposterous allegations.”

But it is far from ridiculous to suspect Israel of being behind this campaign. Indeed, to my mind it is the prime suspect, and Dutch authorities have not ruled Israel out as the culprit.

If any other Middle Eastern state had been so clearly implicated in conducting a campaign of death threats against human rights workers in Europe one could imagine how much of an international scandal it would have become in the press.

But Israel continues to benefit from almost total impunity and protection from the European Union and European governments. Until it is held to account, it will remain untouchable. While our governments refuse to act, it falls on us to subject Israel to pressure with campaigns of accountability – at the forefront of which is BDS.

ArticleInquiryIsraelMiddle EastOpinionPalestine
  • Blake

    zionists plotted to kill Winston Churchill and bomb the Houses of Parliament – if only they had succeeded in doing that then the British would never have been so kind to them and Palestine would have had self-determination. Lets face it sociopaths are not capable of sane/rational policies.

  • Mike Abramov

    This article is pure supposition. Accusing Israel without providing the evidence is anti-Semitic to the point of mirroring Nazi propaganda. Frankly, I fully support Israel for ‘running out of patients’. Putting up with the tirade of ‘do-gooders’ swanning up and down Highway 90 is unique in the Middle East in terms of the free flow of the freedom in seeking opinion. Syria is in a war of biblical magnitude with over 250,000 dead so far. Egypt is under Marshall law,. Dozens of journalists are in prisons throughout the Middle East for expressing an opinion contrary to the autocracy and Mr. Winstanley has the cheek to say that Israel is making threats. Get in to the real world Asa.

    • Maureen Luby

      “Accusing Israel without providing the evidence is anti-Semitic…”. And your attempt to conflate anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism ensures that few people will read the rest of your comment.

      • Svein Storetvedt

        That was just the case :-). I didn’t read the rest ,…

        Anti-Semitic is a word of no relevance anymore. When a word is misused it
        looses significance and meaning. As a comment the Palestinians are more Semites
        than the Khazar jews!

      • Mike Abramov

        Maureen – you failed to make your point clear. Try again.

    • Huliapole

      Shulamit Aloni: “Anti semitsm is a trick we always use” and that seems the case again with this Mr Abramow. The world is sick of your lies and hasbara.

    • Wisdomstrulysmashing

      Anti-Semitic? This is aimed at Israeli government policy, it has nothing to do with the worldwide Jewish population. Please give us a break with this baseless and facile ‘Anti-Semitism’ accusation.

      The finger of the world is pointing at Israel because Israel’s history of genocide and human rights abuses is unmatched by any other country in the Middle East. I would add that Israel wrote the book with regards to making accusations without evidence, by the way; arbitrary arrest and detention is one good example of Israel’s modus operandi.

      Why are you defending Israel? Because you don’t read beyond the mainstream media, perhaps. Israel has never had any “patients” (sic). Patience is not a virtue Israel can be argued to have ever had regarding the Palestinians. The evidence for Israel’s despicable conduct is everywhere for those who care enough to look.

      As for freedom of speech, people like those “do-gooders” you mock are responsible for the freedom from fear of oppression you enjoy as you express yourself on pages like this. Be glad you’re not in the sights of Israeli black ops like this:

      • Mike Abramov

        I stick to my allegation that this is anti-Semitism because of the following:

        No other country in the entire Middle East suffers as much criticism as Israel, which is a democracy.
        The Arab Spring was demonstrative of the unhappiness the people of the other Arab autocracies. But there has been no major Western criticism of the Arab regimes in Syria, KSA and Egypt.
        There exists a state of war between the Palestinians and Israel. Five peace deals have not been taken up by the Palestinian representatives.
        The Arab people DO NOT want a Jewish homeland in the Middle East.
        Suicide bombings, street stabbings and the dispatching of missiles in to civilian areas of Israel are just some of the methods employed by Palestinians in order to avoid a peaceful negotiation.
        Genocide? Before the separation wall was built, there were 478 people blown up by suicide bombers in the heart of civilian areas of Israel including Jews, Christians, Muslims, Tourists, et al.
        Finally, I refer to the criticism of Israel as an anti-Semitic remark by the sheer lack of condemnation of other areas of conflict. Assad is not compared to Hitler. Syria is not compared to a Nazi state and there is very little activity in Middle East Monitor in condemning the many rogue Arab states.
        “patients” (sic). I refer to your correction of my spelling error as purely a faux pas and not ignorance.

        • Wisdomstrulysmashing

          When I see a response like this, I have to conclude you cannot be truly versed in both sides of the conflict. If you’re interested in a reasonable debate, you’ll have to take off the blinkers. You could start here:

          “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
          – Mark Twain

          • Mike Abramov

            I am a great believer in dialogue.

            Firstly, I am fully aware that many support the Palestinians for all the right reasons. I am a humanitarian, but not politically naive. The Israeli government have offered 5 peace agreements since 1948. They have returned Gaza for free. Israel will eventually dis-engage from parts of the West Bank but, this is not what the Palestinians want. The fundamental issue is a Jewish homeland in an Arab region. The Arabs, including Nasser of Egypt, the late King Abdullah of Jordan, Assad of Syria and of course Yassar Arafat of Egypt (not a Palestinian) have vowed to wipe Israel off the map. You may not be anti-Semitic, but do you have a problem with a Jewish homeland?

            However, I must take issue with your allegations of ‘genocide’, with ‘human rights abuses’ as ‘unmatched by any other country’.

            I will take genocide first. There has NEVER been a policy of genocide. The word genocide has been commandeered by the extreme left to muster support for their mantra of converting the world to a universal hatred of Israel. In this instance, genocide can be applied to Rwanda or Armenia. Israel has never intentionally gone out to eliminate the Arabs. Before you tell me about Gaza, let me remind you that there was a three week warning that Israel will attack Gaza if the firing of missiles did not stop. The rest is history.

            Human rights. Yes, I am NOT happy that there are accusations that Israel has harmed prisoners in interrogation. However, there has never been a case proven in court in the Hague.

            I gain most of my information about Israel/Palestine from MEM, the PSC, history books, Al Jazeera and my activity as a Zionist .

            Your response please!

      • Mike Abramov

        As for electronicintifada, I know of no other country IN THE WORLD that tolerates the barrage of BDS supporters cruising in and out of Israel. In Egypt, these people would go straight to prison. If you want to vent your anger against the unfairness of the treatment of individuals, you might start by looking at the dozens of journalists imprisoned in Arab countries for simply putting their views in print.

  • phyllis55

    When will the nations group together and stop these maniacal psychopaths? While the world sits and watches and does nothing to prevent these monsters of society to function unhindered, the innocent and righteous are being targeted for death by these Jews everywhere. The U.S. is having states pass laws against any company participating in BDS. Florida, Jew haven is one such State.