- The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS, a branch of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) provides millions of euros to highly politicized non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that promote anti-Israel narratives, lawfare, and BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns. Some of these organizations 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.
- In 2015-2018, AICS provided approximately €10 million to 18 projects in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.
Direct Funding to Politicized NGOs
- In 2018, AICS granted €446,820 to Al-Haq and the Italian NGO Cooperazione Per Lo Sviluppo Dei Paesi Emergenti (COSPE).
- Al-Haq is a leader in anti-Israel “lawfare” campaigns and BDS activities.
- Al-Haq General Director Shawan Jabarin has ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization and, as a result, has been denied exit visas by Israel and Jordan. According to the Israeli Supreme court, Jabarin “is apparently acting as a manner of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde, acting some of the time as the CEO of a human rights organization, and at other times as an activist in a terror organization.”
- According to a 1995 Israeli submission to the UN, Jabarin was convicted in 1985 for recruiting members for the PFLP. Jabarin was also found guilty of arranging PFLP training outside Israel and was sentenced by Israeli courts to 24-months imprisonment, of which he served nine. In 1994, Jabarin was again arrested for alleged links and placed in administrative detention for six months. An Israeli statement to the UN notes that he “had not discontinued his terrorist involvement and maintains his position in the leadership of the PFLP.”
- In 2018, AICS granted €241,471 to the Italian NGO Organizzazione Per Lo Sviluppo Globale Di Comunita’ In Paesi Extraeuropei Onlus (Overseas) and €527,102 to the Italian NGO Associazione Di Cooperazione E Solidarieta (ACS) for projects with the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC).
- UAWC is identified by Fatah as an official PFLP “affiliate,” and by USAID as the “agricultural arm” of the PFLP. According to academic scholar Glenn E. Robinson, UAWC was founded in 1986 by “agronomists loosely affiliated with the PFLP.”
- Utilizes highly biased and demonizing rhetoric, accusing the “Israel occupation forces” of “continuing its brutal and immoral offensive  war on Gaza” and an ongoing “policy of collective punishment in disregard for the international law and humanitarian law.”
- In 2010, UAWC organized “a solidarity day with the Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmed Saadat…” The “solidarity day” featured Muhammad Bakri, executive director of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees in Gaza, and celebrated “the tenth anniversary of the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi” (an attack perpetrated by the PFLP).
- In 2018, AICS granted $136,612 to Ma’an Development Center via the United Nations Mine Action Service.
- 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 Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (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.”
- In 2018, AICS granted $304,450 to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) for a project in partnership with Palestinian and Israeli NGOs including Jerusalem Legal Aid Centre (JLAC), Society of St Yves, Yesh Din, HaMoked, and Bimkom.
- One of NRC’s principle projects in Israel, “Information, Counselling and Legal Assistance (ICLA),” exploits judicial frameworks to manipulate Israeli policy, bypassing democratic frameworks. NRC’s legal projects are funded mainly by Norway, the European Union(EU), and the United Kingdom (UK).
- JLAC is highly active in promoting BDS campaigns, lobbies international bodies, and utilizes highly inflammatory rhetoric, including accusations of “collective punishment,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “apartheid,” as well as supporting a Palestinian “right of return.”
- Society of St Yves accuses Israel of “discriminatory policies” and “breach[ing] international law,” and claims that “[Palestinian] land [is] swallowed up by the Israeli armed forces.”
- Yesh Din is central to the allegations that Israeli investigative and court systems are unable or unwilling to investigate allegations of wrongdoing and is part of a wider “lawfare” strategy of pressing “war crimes” cases against Israeli officials in foreign courts and in the International Criminal Court (ICC). These campaigns use faulty information and skewed statistics to promote their political claims.
- HaMoked regularly engages in advocacy, filing petitions and briefings to various government agencies and the United Nations. HaMoked makes inaccurate and inflammatory allegations of Israeli “apartheid,” “deportations,” “torture,” and “forcible transfers,” and accuses Israel of “collective punishment” and of “ghetto-ization of the West Bank.”
- Bimkom regularly files petitions in an attempt to alter government policies related to spatial planning, planning procedures, and Bedouin communities.
- In 2018, AICS granted $218,854 to Save the Children, in partnership with Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P) and East Jerusalem YMCA.
- Several past and current DCI-P board members and employees have apparent ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel. DCI-P leads the campaign exploiting children to promote demonization of Israel. Many of its allegations are false and part of attempts to smear Israel with allegations of “war crimes” and promote BDS.
- In 2018, AICS granted $862,076 to Save the Children, in partnership with Ma’an Development Center, Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution, and the East Jerusalem YMCA.
- In 2015-2018, ActionAid Palestine was a local implementing partner on a €1 million grant from AICS.
- According to the project details, many politicized local and foreign NGOs took part in the program, including B’Tselem, Rabbis for Human Rights, Bimkom, Comet-ME, the Norwegian Refugee Council, Diakonia (Sweden), Save the Children, Christian Peacemaker Teams, and Operation Dove (Community Association of Pope Giovanni XXIII [APG23]).
- From 2014-2017, AICS granted approximately €1.6 million to the Italian NGO Vento di Terra (VdT). Another implementing partner is the Palestinian NGO Bisan Center for Research, which has reported links to the PFLP terrorist organization.
- Bisan Center for Research and Development has reported ties to the PFLP. Izzat Abdulhadi, a former director of Bisan, is reported to be a PFLP member. According to the Palestinian organizations Samidoun – Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and Addameer, Bisan Executive Director Eteraf Rimawi was arrested six times by Israeli forces between 1995 and 2014. Rimawi was reportedly sentenced for 16-months in prison and fined NIS 5,000 in 2000. During his detention in 2008, an Israeli military judge affirmed that “Eteraf was active in political activities related to the PFLP.”
- Community Association of Pope Giovanni XXIII (APG23)
- In 2015, 56% of APG23’s income was from government sources (€5 million of a total €22.3 million).
- Supports BDS and is signatory to BDS Italia’s campaign statement.
- Operation Dove (Colomba), the main program of APG23 in Israel, supports “groups of pacifists and activists who oppose, by non-violent methods, the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories” and “the advocacy work and legal support of Israeli human rights organizations that monitor violations perpetrated against Palestinians.”
- Un Ponte Per (UPP)
Italian Funding to Political NGOs
|Al-Haq||Cooperazione Per Lo Sviluppo Dei Paesi Emergenti (COSPE)||2018||€446,820|
|Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)||Organizzazione Per Lo Sviluppo Globale Di Comunita’ In Paesi Extraeuropei Onlus (Overseas)||2018||€241,471|
|Associazione Di Cooperazione E Solidarieta (ACS)||€527,102|
|Ma’an Development Center||United Nations Mine Action Service||2018||$136,612|
|Save the Children||Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P) and East Jerusalem YMCA||2018||$218,854|
|Ma’an Development Center, Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution, and the East Jerusalem YMCA||$862,076|
|Norwegian Refugee Council||Jerusalem Legal Aid Centre (JLAC), Society of St Yves, Community Action Centre (CAC), Yesh Din, HaMoked, Jerusalem Community Advocacy Network (JCAN), Peace Now, Haqel, CCPRJ, BIMKOM and Terrestrial Jerusalem||2018||$304,450|