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The EU has given $290,000 to a program headed by three Israeli leftist groups seeking to eradicate the “culture of impunity” among ‎Israeli security forces, a new report has exposed.

By: Ariel Kahana/Israel Hayom via JNS

The collaboration between the European Union (EU) and ‎left-wing groups seeking to undermine Israel and the ‎IDF now includes the funding of legal proceedings ‎against IDF soldiers, a watchdog group revealed last ‎week.‎ ‎ ‎

NGO Monitor, which promotes greater transparency ‎among foreign-funded Israeli nongovernmental ‎organizations, claims that the program, to which the ‎European Union has allocated €250,000 ($290,000), was set up at ‎the request of three left-wing groups and is slated to be ‎in place at least until 2021.‎

This latest initiative is the brainchild of: Yesh Din—‎Volunteers for Human Rights; Breaking the Silence, ‎an advocacy group dedicated to exposing alleged ‎wrongdoings by the IDF; and Physicians for Human ‎Rights—Israel.‎

Citing a “culture of impunity among members of ‎Israel’s security forces,” the groups ‎claim that the Israeli judiciary is incapable of ‎properly investigating illegal actions against ‎Palestinians when those are committed by IDF ‎soldiers.‎

‎“The military justice system allows soldiers to act ‎with almost complete impunity” in cases involving “forced entrances into Palestinian homes,” the ‎groups claim in the petition for EU funding.‎

The Europeans often accuse Israel of allowing its ‎security forces to act with impunity, thus exempting ‎them from accountability for their actions.‎

A Serious Legal Threat

The EU’s consent to fund such legal action is ‎considered a serious legal threat, as up until now, the ‎international community has accepted the assumption ‎that Israel is capable of investigating itself. ‎

The initiative could, in fact, compromise Israel internationally, as under the Rome Statute—the treaty that ‎outlines the principles by which the International ‎Criminal Court in The Hague operates—a country’s ‎inability to investigate itself is grounds for ICC ‎intervention.‎

The groups claim the program is necessary to ‎‎“identify and address, through legal and public ‎proceedings, systemic failures in the military ‎administration,” meaning to point a finger at ‎officers and soldiers.‎

The groups have asked the EU for funding to supply ‎Palestinian women with video cameras, so they could ‎document the IDF’s security missions, especially ‎arrest raids.‎

This is necessary “for the purpose of building a ‎database, providing testimony, following up on ‎investigations, filing appeals over their closing, ‎and filing High Court of Justice petitions on ‎matters of principle and in specific cases,” the ‎funding request explained. ‎

The program “means to keep the issue of Israel and ‎its security forces’ impunity on the international ‎agenda, as well as raise international awareness ‎to the systemic impact of the failure to enforce the ‎law on Palestinian communities.”

It further seeks to “challenge the continued ‎violations of human rights resulting from such home ‎invasions, which are often arbitrarily carried out ‎by the Israeli security forces,” the request ‎continued. It makes no mention of the fact that ‎these alleged “invasions” are actually raids ‎carried out as part of the IDF and Shin Bet security ‎agency’s counterterrorism efforts.‎

Shin Bet Director Nedav Argaman revealed last week ‎‎that these efforts‎ have ‎‎prevented more than ‎250 major terrorist attacks since the ‎‎beginning of the year.‎ ‎

Potential ‎‎Disruption of Counterterrorism Efforts

The program has been set up despite its potential ‎‎disruption to daily counterterrorism efforts, said NGO ‎‎Monitor. The funding request does not ‎specifically state that that is what it seeks to do, ‎but the steps it suggests taking appear to aim for ‎that result.‎ ‎

‎“This is a disturbing step in the way these ‎organizations are working to raise money, especially ‎given the European Union’s agreement to fund a ‎project that claims that the Israeli judiciary is ‎dysfunctional,” a statement by NGO Monitor said. ‎

A statement by Breaking the Silence said that “as ‎usual, Israel Hayom is not interested in checking ‎the facts, only in false headlines that serve the ‎political agenda of the government for which it ‎works. ‎

‎“Breaking the Silence does not, in any way, seek to ‎prosecute Israeli soldiers and their identity is ‎protected from those who wish them harm. Anyone ‎trying to describe a different reality at the ‎expense of journalistic integrity, including Israel Hayom, does so at their own risk.”

A statement by Yesh Din said, “This is a biased ‎report that aims to present human-rights groups’ ‎activities in a false and distorted manner. ‎

‎“As we were not given adequate time to respond to ‎this nonsense, we will say only that the attempt to ‎present this initiative as one trying to undermine ongoing ‎IDF activities is utterly baseless, and it is clear ‎anyone in their right mind, including the reporter ‎and his sources, that the truth is light years away ‎from that. ‎

‎“The claim that this program allegedly seeks to ‎prosecute Israeli soldiers at the ICC is also a ‎total lie,” the group said. ‎

The European Union was unavailable for comment.

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