- The Belgian government, through the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation (DGD, a branch of the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs), provides millions of euros to highly politicized non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that promote anti-Israel narratives, lawfare, and discriminatory BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns. Some of these organizations have ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – a designated terrorist organization by the EU, US, Canada, and Israel. (See Belgium’s Support of PFLP Linked NGOs for more details.)
- On July 14, 2021, MP Kathleen Depoorter announced that Belgium Minister of Development Cooperation Meryame Kitir refused to open an independent investigation into the alleged diversion of Belgian development funds to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
- In June, Minister Kitir announced that Belgium was conducting an internal investigation into its funding to NGOs, following an announcement by the Israeli authorities that European aid transferred to Palestinian NGOs was diverted to the PFLP. Kitir claimed that the information provided by the Israeli authority “contains no concrete material evidence for possible fraud at the partner organizations” and that on the basis of the investigation conducted by her administration, Kitir saw “no reason today to freeze funds, nor to have additional external investigations carried out” (emphases added).
- The Belgian government does not provide direct funding to Israeli and Palestinian NGOs. However, “recognised [Belgian] NGOs” provide funding to local Israeli and Palestinian NGOs through “co-financing…programmes” co-funded by DGD, with DGD providing up to 85% of the total grant.
- The 2017-2021 Joint Strategic Framework (JSF) for Belgian aid to Palestinians, a document formulated jointly by Belgian “recognised NGOs” and approved by the Belgian Minister of Development Cooperation, outlines the NGOs’ common strategy for delivering aid. The JSF commits its signatories to promoting a variety of anti-Israel campaigns through advocacy and lobbying in Belgium and the EU, including “Mitigating the influence of pro-Israel voices.”
- In May 2021, the Belgian Ministry of Development Cooperation announceda commitment of €8 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza following the fighting that took place that month. Numerous employees of this Ministry – responsible for reviewing, approving, and distributing international aid – have previously expressed support for acts of violence and praised Palestinian terror on their social media accounts. Several of these government employees’ posts include violent and antisemitic imagery. (Read NGO Monitor’s report “Support for Terror by Belgian Ministry of Development Cooperation Employees.”)
- Brussels-based Broederlijk Delen, a Catholic development and peace organization, has provided funding to a number of highly biased and politicized NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
- In 2017-2021, Broederlijk Delen will receive €1.3 million from DGD for “Enhance[ing] Palestinians’ dignity through better access to rights and creating opportunities for personal and community development.” Broederlijk Delen lists eight local partners including Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), a PFLP-linked Palestinian NGO, and Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC). (See table below for further funding information.)
- In 2018-2019, Broederlijk Delen lobbied in support of the discriminatory UN database of businesses operating across the 1949 Armistice line, aimed at bolstering BDS campaigns against Israel.
- On February 7, 2017, Broederlijk Delen was a signatory on a call to “end the European complicity – marking 100 years of injustice against the Palestinian people” (i.e. since the Balfour Declaration). The call “solemnly reaffirm[ed] that in 2017, after 100 years of dispossession, denial and ethnic cleansing, the rights of the Palestinian people must, at last, be respected.” The statement further called for the “the suspension of the EU’s Association Agreement with Israel” and on the international community “to cease all complicity with continued settlement activity and the myriad of ways that Israel violates international law.”
- Broederlijk Delen supports the “Made in Illegality” project, a settlement boycott campaign based in Belgian and France.
|Breaking the Silence||€205,500
|Theatre Day Productions||€296,000
- Viva Salud (formerly Third World Health Aid) is a Belgium-based organization that claims to work on issues related to health rights.
- In 2017-2021, DGD is providing Viva Salud with €1.2 million for two projects: “Youth organizations, movements and communities are better represented in the Palestinian social movement to defend the right to health of the Palestinian population from West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza Strip” and “Palestinian social movement advocates for Palestinians’ right to health through networks vis a vis local and international stakeholders. Viva Salud’s partners in Gaza and the West Bank include Union of Health Workers Committee (UHWC), Health Work Committees (HWC), and Bisan Center for Research and Development (Bisan), all of them having ties to the PFLP terrorist organization.
- UHWC is identified by Fatah as a PFLP “affiliate” and by USAID-engaged audit as the “the PFLP’s health organization.” HWC, which is referred by Viva Salud as UHWC “sister organization,” is UHWC’s former West Bank and Jerusalem branch. Numerous UHWC and HWC staff members, founders, board members, general assembly members, and senior staff members have ties to the PFLP terror group. On June 9, 2015, Israel’s Defense Minister declared that “the group of people or institutions or association known as the ‘Union of Health Work Committees-Jerusalem’…or any other name that this association will be known by, including all of its factions and any branch, center, committee or group of this association is an unauthorized association, as defined by the Defense Regulations” (emphasis added, p. 6489).
- In October 2019, Waleed Hanatsheh –Financial and Administrative director for HWC – was arrested for participating in a terrorist attack in which a 17-year old was murdered. According to the indictment against him, Hanatsheh bankrolled the bombing.
- On July 29, 2021, the IDF raided the offices of Bisan and confiscated a number of “equipment and devices.”
- In June 2020, Bisan’s Executive Director Ubai Aboudi was sentenced to 12-months in prison. According to his conviction, Aboudi “was convicted of being a member and an activist of the Popular Front organization during the period starting from 2016 and ending in July 2019.” Specifically, Aboudi “was responsible for recruiting additional activists to the organization from young people and students, as well as strengthening the organization’s infrastructure in the area” (on file with NGO Monitor).
- Iteraf Hajaj (Rimawi), Bisan’s former Executive Director was arrested on September, 23, 2019 by Israeli forces. A statement from the General Security Service (Shabak) refers to Rimawi as being responsible for PFLP clandestine operations.
- In a 2013 publication, bearing the Belgium Development Cooperation logo, Viva Salud stated: “One of the most flagrant examples of how a sovereign state has been undermined is the decades-long occupation and colonization of Palestine, which began in 1948when Palestinians were driven en masse from their villages in what is now Israel” (emphasis added).
- Viva Salud supports the “Made in Illegality” project, a settlement boycott campaign based in Belgium and France, and promotes the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement.
Solidarité Socialiste (SolSoc)
- In 2017-2021, SolSoc is receiving €1.4 million from DGD for the project: “PROG 2017-2021_Outcome_OS Palestine SDZ17.”
- SolSoc’s partners include Ma’an Development Center and Popular Art Centre (PAC). According to the 2017-2021 funding framework, the Ma’an Development Center and PAC will be provided €986,954 and €379,569
- In May 2019, “MA’AN’s Director General,” Sami Khader attended a memorial event organized by the PFLP that centered on PFLP political bureau member Rabah Muhanna, who, according to information posted by the PFLP, “contributed to the establishment” of several PFLP-affiliated NGOs, including UHWC, UAWC, and Addameer. The hall was decorated with PFLP paraphernalia.
- In May 2018, Ma’an Development Center employee Ahmad Abdallah Aladini was killed in the violence on the Gaza border. Aladini was a “comrade” of the PFLP terror group.
- On April 6-7, 2017, PAC was one of the organizers of a children’s festival on the topic of “the 30 year Palestinian uprising.” One dance routine publicized by PAC was titled “Songs of the Intifada.” Another was captioned “Brother, point the gun” (NGO Monitor translation).
- In February 2016, PAC organized a ceremony in honor of “Palestinian martyrs” whose homes were demolished, featuring the “father of the martyr Baha Eleyan” as a speaker (NGO Monitor translation). Eleyan was one of two terrorists to board a bus in Jerusalem in October 2015 armed with a gun and a knife, murdering three and injuring seven. The same ceremony featured a musical performance captioned “no to laying down guns” (NGO Monitor translation).
- SolSoc supports the “Made in Illegality” campaign, a settlement boycott campaign based in Belgium and France, and promotes the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement.
- Solidarité Socialiste accuses Israel of “systematically [seeking] to exercise control over Palestine, sporadically occupying its territories and regulating the circulation of its residents and goods.” Solidarité Socialiste describes the Palestinian economy as “an economy of occupation” and states that “the wall had the effect to paralyze the economy of the Palestinian territories.”
|Ma'an Development Center||€986,954
|Popular Art Centre (PAC)||€379,569
Projects funded by DGD
- In 2015-2020, DGD provided Oxfam Solidarité with €4.7 million for four projects in the “Palestinian Territory: “From emergency food security to durable livelihoods: Building resilience in the occupied Palestinian territory,” “Addressing extreme vulnerability and strengthening resilience in protracted crises: a comprehensive response in the Gaza Strip (OPT) and Lebanon,” “Protecting Lives in Closed Borders : Towards addressing Gaza’s Humanitarian Needs,” and “Integrated protection in area C: enhancing the resilience of communities to violations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law.” DGD does not list the partners on these projects.
- Oxfam Solidarité has an ongoing DGD-funded program “Cash-for-work” implemented in partnership with the Union of Agricultural Works Committee(UAWC). The program aims at supporting the “fishermen in Gaza, who face many obstacles,” including the “limitations of the fishing zones imposed by the Israelis.”
Information about projects funded by DGD for 2016-2018 featured in Oxfam Novib’s (Netherlands) “atlas.”
Federal Government Funding via International Organizations
- In 2020, NRC received €1.7 million from DGD.
- Norwegian Refugee Council engages in lawfare and international delegitimization campaigns against Israel.
- One of NRC’s principle projects in Israel, “Information, counseling, and legal assistance (ICLA),” exploits judicial frameworks to manipulate Israeli policy, bypassing democratic frameworks.
- ICLA’s interventions in Israeli courts and other venues “beneficiary targets” include: “3628 opened and continuing cases for legal assistance in the West Bank (West Bank 612 new and 3016 continuing), 40 advocacy briefings given on specific HLP and residency issues (verbal or written), 10 of instances information is submitted to other UN mechanisms, and 75 public interest cases challenging unjust HLP issues.”
Belgium Local Governmental Bodies Funding to NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli Conflict
- Wallonie-Bruxelles International (WBI), “the agency responsible for the international relations of Wallonia and Brussels,” is funding the project “Justice for Palestinian Children in Conflict with the Law” (2019-2023; amount unknown) implemented by DCI-Belgium in partnership with DCI-P. The project includes an advocacy component, in which, “based on the ‘No Way to Treat a Child’ campaign, project partners are calling for an end to the Israeli military detention of Palestinian children.”
- Numerous individuals with alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel, have been employed and appointed as board members at DCI-P. On October 22, 2021, the Israeli Ministry of Defense declared DCI-P a “terror organization” because it is part of “a network of organizations” that operates “on behalf of the ‘Popular Front’.” (For more information on DCI-P’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Defense for Children International – Palestine’s Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”)
- Association Belgo-Palestinienne (ABP) is a Belgium-based organization that has received direct Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles since 2005, including €109,390 in 2019.
- ABP is active in discriminatory BDS campaigns against Israel.
- Pierre Galand, ABP’s director and a former Belgian senator, is also the President of ECCP (a Brussels-based association of NGOs working with the UN Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People). Galand was the general coordinator of the Russell Tribunal (a court that uses a legal façade to create an image of neutrality and credibility, and to accuse Israel of “apartheid,” “war crimes,” “crimes against humanity,” and “genocide”) and the former head of Oxfam-Belgium.
Intal Globalize Solidarity vzw
- Intal Globalize Solidarity vzw (intal) is a Belgium-based organization that has received direct Belgian local government funding (Région Bruxelloise, Région Flamande, Maribel Social) including €98,810 in 2019.
- Intal calls for “the end of Zionism as the State of Israel’s ideology,” a “right of return for all Palestinian refugees,” and “the end of Israel as a state in which Jews must at all price be the majority and where non-Jewish populations are discriminated against.”
- Intal is active in discriminatory BDS campaigns against Israel.
Indirect Funding via UN Frameworks
Funding to the UN-OCHA oPt Humanitarian Fund
- In 2020, Belgium provided the “occupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund” with $4.3 million.
- Several PFLP-linked NGOs, including UAWC, UHWC, and PCHR are regular recipients of disbursements from the “occupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund.”
Funding to UN-OCHA
- In 2019, Belgium provided the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) with $722,222 for “Strengthening Humanitarian Coordination and Advocacy in the occupied Palestinian territory.”
- OCHA oversees and facilitates government funding to highly biased and politicized NGOs, including a number that are highly active in promoting BDS and lawfare campaigns, and some even engage in blatantly antisemitic activities. Some of the NGOs also have ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel.
Funding to UNICEF
- In 2019, Belgium provided United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) with $448,525 for the project “Integrated psychosocial support and child protection services for the most affected boys and girls in Gaza, especially those impacted by ‘the Great March of Return.’” Additionally, Belgium provided UNICEF with $5,183 for “Protection and prevention services to the most vulnerable children (boys and girls) in the West Bank, and documentation of protection incidents in Israel/ State of Palestine.”
- In 2018, Belgium provided UNICEF with $161,451 for the project “Protection and prevention services to the most vulnerable children (boys and girls) in the West Bank, and documentation of protection incidents in Israel/ State of Palestine.” Additionally, Belgium provided $69,055 for the project “Integrated psychosocial support and child protection services for the most affected boys and girls in Gaza, especially those impacted by ‘the Great March of Return.’”
- UNICEF spearheads a campaign to have Israel included on a UN blacklist of “grave” violators of children’s rights. The list appears as an annex to the UN Secretary-General’s annual report on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC). This political agenda is a primary facet of UNICEF’s activities relating to Israel, completely inconsistent with its mandate of “child protection” and from its guidelines for neutrality and impartiality. (Read NGO Monitor’s report “UNICEF and its NGO Working Group: Failing Children”)
Funding to the Food & Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme
- In 2018, Belgium provided $1.2 million to the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, for a project titled “time critical response to the severe power shortage in Gaza Strip to save agricultural livelihoods and food security through renewable energy sources.”
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