- 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 2017-2021 JSF committed its signatories to promoting anti-Israel campaigns through advocacy and lobbying in Belgium and the EU, including “Mitigating the influence of pro-Israel voices.” Manifesting a severe decrease in transparency, the Belgian government has refused to publish the 2022-2026 JSF on “Palestine,” whereas JSFs for other countries are accessible online. Consequently, details on funding to Palestinian NGOs for 2022-2026 are unavailable.
- In May 2021, the Belgian Ministry of Development Cooperation announced a 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 2022-2026, Broederlijk Delen will receive €1.4 million from DGD for a project titled “Lobby and advocacy by empowered Palestinian communities and civil society in Palestine and Israel for respect for international law.” Broederlijk Delen lists eight local partners including Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), an Israeli-designated PFLP-linked Palestinian NGO, and Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC). (See table below for further funding information.)
- In November 2022, Broederlijk Delen, alongside DCI-P and DCI-Belgium, hosted a controversial photo exhibit in the Belgium Chamber of Representatives titled “Military detention is no way to treat a child.”
- 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. 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.”
- On October 22, 2021, the Israeli Ministry of Defense declared Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P) a “terror organization” because it is part of “a network of organizations” that operates “on behalf of the ‘Popular Front’.”
- 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.
- Viva Salud (formerly Third World Health Aid) is a Belgium-based organization that claims to work on issues related to health rights.
- In 2022-2026, DGD will provide Viva Salud with €1.3 million for “A strong social movement to uphold the right to health and food of the Palestinian people” (translated from the original French).
- Viva Salud partners with and funds the Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC), Health Work Committee (HWC), and the Bisan Center for Research and Development (Bisan). All three of these organizations have ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization, designated as such by the EU, US, Canada, and Israel.
- AWDA (UHWC) is identified by Fatah as an official PFLP “affiliate” and by a 1993 USAID-engaged audit as the “the PFLP’s health organization.” For more information on AWDA’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Union of Health Work Committees’ Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”
- Numerous HWC staff members, founders, board members, general assembly members, and senior staff members have ties to the PFLP terror group. For more information on HWC’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Health Work Committees’ Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”
- In January 2020, HWC was designated by Israel as a terrorist organization,
- In June 2015, Israel’s Defense Minister declared that “the group of people or institutions or association known as the ‘Union of Health Work Committees-Jerusalem [HWC]’…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).
- In October 2019, Walid 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.
- Bisan Center for Research and Development has reported ties to the PFLP.
- On October 22, 2021, the Israeli Ministry of Defense declared Bisan a “terror organization” because it is part of “a network of organizations” that operates “on behalf of the ‘Popular Front’.”
- 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 2020, he pled guilty to being a member of – and holding a position in – the PFLP. He received a 3.5 year prison sentence.
- In 2022, Viva Salud participated in a campaign titled “#StopTradeWithSettlements” calling “for an EU law that will end trade with illegal settlements once and for all.”
- 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 2022-2026, Solsoc is receiving €1.7 million for “Strengthening and support for the structuring of actors of social change in Palestine” (translated from the original French).
- In 2017-2021, SolSoc received €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||N/A||€986,954
|Popular Art Centre (PAC)||N/A||€379,569
- Oxfam-Solidarité is the Belgian branch of Oxfam International, an international NGO that claims to work on poverty-related issues.
- Oxfam Solidarité does not publish financial information, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability. Funding data in the table below is taken from Oxfam Novib’s (Netherlands) “atlas” website, a database providing access to details on all Oxfam projects.
- Until December 31, 2019, Oxfam Solidarité’ listed as Palestinian partners Health Work Committee (HWC), Union of Health Workers Committee (UHWC – partners since 1990), Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC – partners since 1998) and Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS). HWC, UHWC, and UAWC have ties to the PFLP terrorist organization. As of January 2023, Oxfam Solidarité’s webpage on Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Israel does not list the identity of its local NGO partners.
- Oxfam Solidarité’s Palestinian partners includeHealth Works Committee (HWC), United Health Works Committee (UHWC– partners since 1990), Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC –partners since 1998) and Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS). HWC, UHWC, and UAWC have ties to the PFLP terrorist organization.
- Oxfam-Solidarité provides funding to projects implemented by Palestinian and Israeli NGOs. Some of the projects are funded by DGD, others by Oxfam-Solidarité.
- Through DGD, Oxfam-Solidarité has funded the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee (PARC), Rural Women Development Society, Palestinian Farmers’ Union, Bimkom, Yesh Din, and Gisha.
- Projects funded by solely by Oxfam-Solidarité include Union of Health Workers Committee, Palestinian Medical Relief Services, Ma’an Development Center, and Women’s Affairs Technical Committee.
Projects funded by DGD
- In 2022-2026, DGD will provide Oxfam Solidarité with €2.9 million for a project titled “Women, youth and other SSPs increase benefits in the fresh vegetables value chain as change agents.” Local NGO partners include Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee (PARC), Rural Women Development Society (RWDS), and Palestinian Farmers’ Union (PFU). According to data published by Oxfam Novib’s “atlas” website, in 2022-2026, DGD will provide PARC, RWDS and PFU with €628,295, €579,377, and €263,827.
- Oxfam Solidarité ran a 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.” It is unclear if the project is ongoing.
Federal Government Funding via International Organizations
- In 2022, NRC received €1.3 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.”
- Within this program, in November 2022, DCI-P, alongside Broederlijk Delen and DCI-Belgium, hosted a controversial photo exhibit in the Belgium Chamber of Representatives titled “Military detention is no way to treat a child.” According to the event materials, the exhibit received the support of WBI.
- 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 €110,425 in 2020.
- 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 2021–2022, Belgium provided the “occupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund” with €8 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.”
In The Media
Gerald Steinberg calls for increased dialogue between Israeli and European leaders and members of parliaments to solve the issue of foreign governmental funding of Israeli NGOs.
The BElgian government directly and indirectly funds groups that have alleged ties to the PFLP terror group.
UPJB, which receives funding from the Belgian government, will host an event that presents an extremely biased view of the Arab-Israeli conflict
In The Media
The transfer of over 800,000 euros in the past three years from Belgian taxpayers to opposition groups, under the faade of promoting peace and human rights, adds to the resentment of many Israelis, including Knesset members. Many criticize this as manipulative and anti-democratic
All Articles about Belgium