An Israeli newspaper close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday accused Switzerland of spending $2 million on legal activities which it says harm Israel.
Israel Hayom claimed that the Swiss foreign ministry sent an estimated $2 million to Israeli and Palestinian NGOs through its diplomatic mission in Ramallah to pay for legal activities which harm Israel.
According to the Israeli newspaper, the funds were paid to the Israel and Palestinian organisations shortly after the Swiss government ended its support for a Palestinian NGO over its support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, noting that the funds went for similar projects.
The Israeli newspaper claimed that it has contracts signed by the Swiss diplomatic mission in Ramallah and pro-Palestinian organisations in 2018. It did not state the source of the contracts, only that the funds were allocated for three Israeli organisations: Hamoked, a human rights organisation, Physicians for Human Rights and Adalah – The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.
The funds were used for “building cases for the International Criminal Court (ICC)” and “collecting testimonies, field inspections, holding interviews and [providing] legal assistance to victims of war crimes”, Israel Hayom reported.
The newspaper noted that the ICC is one of the greatest threats to Israel according to the security doctrine formulated by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Such activities, the newspaper added, are “clear blatant meddling in Israel’s internal affairs” because they include detailing the Israeli government’s intention to demolish the homes of Palestinians.
They are considered a form of interfering in Israel’s internal affairs because part of the funds is used for “enlisting support for the Bedouin community facing eviction”, assisting prisoners in Israeli jails, offering legal counsel for their families or even filing complaints demanding the return of the bodies of Palestinians killed by occupation forces.
In response to the allegation, Switzerland issued a statement to say: “No activity of the Swiss government was intended to harm the State of Israel. Switzerland has a flourishing relationship with Israel in many fields.”
“In accordance with Clause 54 of the Swiss Federal Constitution, the Swiss government promotes respect for human rights and democracy, as well as the peaceful coexistence of peoples around the world.”