- Australian international aid is managed through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
- In 2021-2022, the Australian government committed AUD 29.8 million to projects in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. The anticipated budget in 2022-2023 is AUD 29.5 million.
- A number of NGOs that receive Australian funding lead campaigns and political activities that are inconsistent with Australian government policies to promote peace and a two-state framework in the Arab-Israeli conflict. These NGOs are centrally involved in anti-Israel BDS campaigns and lawfare.
Australian Middle East NGO Cooperation Agreement (AMENCA)
- Initiated in 2005, the Australian government’s “Australian Middle East NGO Cooperation Agreement” project is a “key component of Australia’s bilateral aid to the PTs [Palestinian Territory] and the vehicle for a decade of collaboration between Australian and Palestinian civil society partners.”
- In 2016-2021, DFAT implemented the third phase of AMENCA, “AMENCA 3: Palestinian Farmers Connecting to Markets,” with a budget of AUD $32 million. AMENCA-3 provided funding to three Australian NGOs, APHEDA, CARE, and Oxfam – which in turn fund local NGOs active in BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions)campaigns and other forms of anti-Israel demonization, including some that have ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror organization.
APHEDA and Ma’an Development Center
- According to APHEDA’s 2019-2020 annual report, its AMENCA-3 partners are “MA’AN Development Center, The Palestinian Businesswomen’s Association – Asala, and the Institute for Community Partnership of Bethlehem University.” (See more on APHEDA below.)
- In May 2018, Ma’an Development Center employee Ahmad Abdallah Aladini was killed in the violence on the Gaza border. On May 15, 2018, Ma’an Development Center posted on Facebook a memorial notice for Aladini, referring to him as a “colleague and martyr.” (Ma’an has since removed the post.) Aladini was a “comrade” of the PFLP, a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel. According to the PFLP, Aladini was active against the “Zionist aggression on the Gaza Strip.” On his Facebook page, Aladini posted PFLP propaganda, including images that glorify violence and terrorists.
- In June 2018, Ma’an Field Coordinator in Ramallah Hamza Zbeldat mourned the loss of a PFLP member, describing him as “my master” and as a person who “taught me.”
CARE and Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ)
- CARE partners with Applied Research Institute in Jerusalem (ARIJ). (See more on CARE below.)
- ARIJ is among the leaders of the political warfare against Israel, seeking to further boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS), false accusations of Israeli “apartheid” and “racism,” and support for a Palestinian “right of return” that is inconsistent with two-state solution.
- In April 2019, ARIJ released a “Daily Report” that included the classic antisemitic attack on the Talmud in its rhetoric used against Jews. The report claimed that “over 250 settlers, stormed an archaeological site in Al-Jib village…and performed Talmudic rituals” and accused Jews of performing “Talmudic rituals in celebration of Jewish holidays” and performing “Talmudic rituals in the town.” In a February 2017 report, ARIJ claimed that the “Talmudic rituals” were in “blatant provocation to local residents.”
Oxfam Australia and Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC)
- Oxfam Australia partners with the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees. (See more on Oxfam below.)
- PARC’s rhetoric includes accusations of “apartheid,” “collective punishment,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “war crimes.”
- According to PARC’s “2014-2018 Strategic Plan,” one of PARC’s strategic goals is “Holding the occupation accountable towards Palestinian rights related to the agricultural sector and rural areas” by “Boycotting…Israelis’ settlement products” and “Supporting the cooperation and coordination with the boycott committees.”
- Judeh Deeb Ibrahim Jamal, founder of PARC, was formerly the General Director of Qatar Charity. In 2015, the Israeli Military Court convicted him for his activity in the Qatar Charity – an illegal organization in Israel due to its ties to Hamas – and for his transferring of funds to Hamas (on file).
- World Vision was receiving funds under AMENCA-3 until the arrest of its manager of operations in Gaza for diverting funds to Hamas. According to an October 2018 document published by the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific, “World Vision has still not resumed receiving development assistance from DFAT for its projects in the PTs (Palestinian Territories), undermining Australia’s goals of encouraging agricultural growth, particularly in the Gaza Strip where World Vision is the only NGO to operate under the AMENCA program.”
- On June 15, 2016, Mohammad El-Halabi, a manager of operations for World Vision Jerusalem-West Bank-Gaza, was arrested by Israeli authorities. He was accused of diverting approximately 60% of the World Vision’s Jerusalem West Bank Gaza budget to the terrorist organization for tunnels and fund other terrorist activity. The siphoned funds amount to approximately $50 million.
- According to the indictment against him, El-Halabi used fictitious humanitarian projects and agricultural associations to act as a cover for the hijacking of monies and materials to Hamas.
- On June 15, 2022, the Be’er Sheva District Court convicted El-Halabi for diverting aid money and resources from World Vision to Hamas. In August 2022, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
- Following the allegations against and arrest of El-Halabi, the Australian government announced the suspension of funding to World Vision projects in the West Bank and Gaza.
AMENCA, Earlier Phases
- In 2009-2015, total funding through AMENCA-2 was AUD 35.5 million. AMENCA-2 channelled funds via World Vision Australia, APHEDA, and CARE Australia.
- In 2005-2013, as part of AMENCA Phases 1 and 2, Union of Agricultural Works Committee (UAWC) received AUD 2.3 million from Australia via World Vision.
- The Union of Agricultural Work Committee (UAWC) is identified by Fatah as an official “affiliate” and by USAID-engaged audit as the “agricultural arm” of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel. UAWC is also highly active in promoting BDS campaigns and utilizing inflammatory rhetoric. For more information on UAWC’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Union of Agricultural Work Committees Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”
Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP)
- In 2021-2022, World Vision Australia received AUD 29.9 million from ANCP.
- World Vision Australia has financially supported the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network, which was established “by church leaders who saw a particular role for Christians to advocate from a faith perspective about Palestinian human rights.”
- The Ecumenical Network “find[s] inspiration and direction from the Kairos Palestine document,” which calls for BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) against Israel; denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms; and rationalizes, justifies, and trivializes terrorism, calling it “legal resistance.”
- In 2021-2022, Oxfam Australia received AUD 8.2 million from ANCP.
- Oxfam consistently paints a highly misleading picture of the Arab-Israeli conflict, departing from its humanitarian mission focused on poverty. Most Oxfam statements erase all complexity and blame Israel exclusively for the situation, and these distortions and their impacts contribute significantly to the conflict.
- In 2021-2022, CARE Australia received AUD 2.9 million from ANCP.
- CARE Australia partners with the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ). (See more about ARIJ above.)
- CARE had been operating in the West Bank and Gaza since 1948. However on August 5, 2014, following the 2014 Gaza war, CARE WBG “temporarily suspended normal operations in Gaza, and will recommence once the security situation allows.” While CARE WBG has posted job openings on its Facebook page, it has not updated its website since August 2014, and therefore it is unclear to what extent activities have resumed.
- Signatory to the 2015 Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) joint agency briefing paper titled, “Charting a New Course: Overcoming the Stalemate in Gaza,” misrepresenting international law and distorting legal terminology to place primary blame for the 2014 Gaza war on Israel. The paper omits Hamas rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, as well as terror tunnels running beneath the border into Israel. The paper further encourages contact with Hamas, stating: “Restricted contact can undermine humanitarian access and implementation of humanitarian programmes…”
- In 2021-2022, ActionAid Australia received AUD 1.3 million from ANCP
- ActionAid leads tours in Bethlehem and Hebron where participants are encouraged to “come face-to-face with the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” “illegal Israeli settlements,” and the “political struggles between locals and the Israeli occupation over land, water, and the building of the Israeli separation wall.”
- In 2021-2022, Save the Children Australia received AUD 7.1 million from ANCP.
- On May 18, 2018, Save the Children and the Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution sponsored a workshop at the Dar al Huda kindergarten, “Training of Teachers on Positive Discipline in Everyday Teaching.”
- On May 26, 2018, the Dar al Huda kindergarten in Gaza held a graduation ceremony that included the mock killing and kidnapping of Israelis by children dressed as combatants. The simulation included sophisticated equipment such as drones, body cameras, military fatigues, body armor, and sniper camouflage. Children wore headbands representing Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), designated as a terrorist organization by the US, EU, and others.
- According to the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Dar al Huda held similarly exploitative military-style events in in 2017 and 2016.
On June 28, 2018, The Daily Telegraph (Australia) ran an exclusive article on how the Australian government will audit “taxpayer funds [that] are being funnelled to a Palestinian aid organisation that has employed and supported a leader of a terrorist group in Gaza.”
Prof. Gerald Steinberg brings the problematic record of Palestinian NGO Medical Aid for Palestinians to the attention of the Australian government, receiving an assurance that these concerns will be taken into account in future funding projects.
Australian international aid is intended to to promote Australias national interests, but some funding goes to political advocacy NGOs that are active in BDS campaigns.
Senator Eric Abetz asked officials from the Australian Agency for International Development about safeguards in place that prevent AusAID funding being used ...in a manner that contravenes Australian government policy on Israel? Let us just pluck an example out of the air like BDSBoycott, Divestment and Sanctions.
Jason Edelstein, The Australian
March 30, 2012
In The Media
Jason Edelstein explains that the Australian government is funding numerous NGOs in the region that demonize Israel and implement activities that make peace more difficult to achieve.
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