Al-Dameer is highly active in promoting BDS campaigns, lobbying international bodies, and utilizing highly inflammatory rhetoric. Al-Dameer is a leader of campaigns in support of Palestinians prisoners convicted of security offenses, referring to them as “martyrs” and altogether omitting the context of violence and terror.
Several Al-Dameer employees and board members 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. For more information on Al-Dameer’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Al-Dameer’s Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”
|In their own words
|"concerned with presenting legal services to detainees inside Israeli jails, along with its activities in defending the victims of violations, whoever perpetrates them" and "works on raising the societal awareness in the field of democracy and human rights through working with different sectors of the local society."
- Al-Dameer does not release financial information, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.
- Independent research shows that Al-Dameer receives funding from the European Union, Switzerland, National Endowment for Democracy (United States), and the UNDP “Joint Program /Sawasya.”
- In 2020, Al-Dameer received CHF 11,740 from Switzerland.
- In 2017-2019, Al-Dameer received CHF 77,221 from Switzerland to “provide information and reports to the International Criminal Court on human rights violations committed by the IOF [Israeli Occupation Forces].” (See more on Al-Dameer’s activities in the ICC below.)
- Al-Dameer and PNGO were co-grantees of a €446,482 European Union grant (2016-2019) titled “Contributing to the respect, protection and promotion of the right to association in the Gaza Strip.”
- In 2019, Al-Dameer received $30,000 from the National Endowment for Democracy (United States) to “promote a rights-based culture of youth leadership in the Gaza Strip. The organization will lead seven two-day workshops on human rights.”
- Al-Dameer engages in anti-Israel demonization while referring to terrorists as “martyrs” and speaking of a Palestinian “right to resist.”
- In January 2020, Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), of which Al-Dameer is a member, refused to sign a European Union grant request that requires recipients to refuse to “transfer any E.U. assistance given to terrorist groups or entities.”
Ties to the PFLP
- Numerous Al-Dameer staff members and board members 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. For more information on Al-Dameer’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Al-Dameer’s Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”
- Multiple staff members of Al-Dameer are also members of the Democratic Association of Lawyers and Jurists (DALJ), and some hold high-ranking positions. According to the PFLP, DALJ is the “Front’s [lawyers’] union framework,” a PFLP subsidiary that regularly collaborates with the PFLP and participates in the latter’s rallies, celebrations and official meetings. DALJ regularly praises PFLP members and disseminates its official content. (Read NGO Monitor’s report “Update: Al-Dameer’s Ties to the PFLP Group and New Funding.”)
- Three Al-Dameer employees (Ilham Jarghoun, Maher Al-Attar, and Mousa Ayyad) appeared on the PFLP list for the scheduled May 2021 Palestinian Legislative Elections, which were postponed indefinitely.
- On December 22, 2019, Al-Dameer, PNGO, and the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) organized a conference on “international accountability mechanisms,” featuring a speech by PFLP Prisoners Committee official ‘Alam Ka’abi. Ka’abi was sentenced to nine life sentences in 2004 for his role in recruiting and sending terrorists to a number of attacks in the early 2000s, resulting in the deaths of several Israeli citizens and injuring dozens.
- In November 2018, “Al-Dameer association, in coordination with the prisoners’ committee of the PFLP, organized a seminar on administrative detention and the continuation of the arrest of Khalida Jarrar,” a PFLP leader (on file with NGO Monitor, see PFLP website for details).
- Al-Dameer lawyer Mohammed S. Al Bardaweel and numerous PFLP officials, including “a member of the General Central Committee of the Front, the head of the prisoners committee in Gaza” Allam Kaabi and members of the PFLP Central Committee Mariam Abu Daqqa and Kayed al-Ghoul were present at the seminar. The PFLP’s “information office” uploaded a short film of the joint event to YouTube.
- In May 2017, multiple Al-Dameer staff participated in a “march organized by the Popular Front for the Liberation to support the prisoners and against Trump’s visit to the Palestinian territories.” Photos from the event show Al-Dameer staff – including Fathi al-Helou, Mohammad Al Jaish, and Yousef Balousha – waving a PFLP flag. (See further information on them below.)
Al-Dameer Staff with Ties to the PFLP
- Younis Aljaro, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Al-Dameer, was a leader in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). According to Ma’an News Agency, Aljaro resigned from the PFLP leadership in 2013.
- Al-Jarro is described as a “former leader in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine” in his bio for a 2017 conference commemorating the violent Palestinian uprising of 1987-1993.
- In January 2014, Aljaro spoke at a PFLP event honoring several members of the PFLP Central Committee on their retirement.
- Galal Ismail Shabat, Al-Dameer’s Vice Chairman, spoke at a December 2016 ceremony at Al-Quds Open University in Gaza commemorating the founding of the terror group. During his speech on behalf of the University, Shabat “congratulated the comrades of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) for the launching anniversary, praising the national efforts and the great sacrifices made by the Popular Front for the Protection of the Palestinian National Project.”
- Yahya Yousef al-Ghulban, an Al-Dameer Board Member, is a “retired Palestinian activist and former prisoner.”
- Yousef Balousha, a lawyer for Al-Dameer, gave a speech during the 2018 closing ceremony of a PFLP children’s summer camp. During his speech, Balousha focused on how “this highlights our interest in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the cultural aspects of our sons and daughters, because the responsibility for their education is upon us. We know that without an education, we will never achieve anything. Its purpose is to implant a national identity and the Palestinian struggle in the souls of our children.” He also praised PFLP leaders, including Secretary-General Ahmad Saafat, George Habash, Wadea Haddad, Abu Ali Mustafa, Ghassan Kanafani, Abu Maher Al Yamani, and “all the martyrs of the Palestinian revolution.”
- Mohammed S. Al-Bardaweel, a lawyer for Al-Dameer, represented Al-Dameer at a 2015 meeting in which “at the request of the PFLP, the National Committee for the Protection of the Rights of Administrative Detainees decided on a series of moves to raise the problem of administrative detainees.”
- Al-Bardaweel also attended a November 2018 seminar organized by “Al-Dameer association, in coordination with the prisoners’ committee of the PFLP” on the “administrative detention and the continuation of the arrest of Khalida Jarrar” leader (on file with NGO Monitor, see PFLP website for details).
- Fathi al-Helou, a lawyer for Al-Dameer, participated in a “cultural evening” with PFLP leaders in Beit Lahia.
- Ra’fat Sulaiman Salha, Secretary of Al-Dameer’s Board of Directors, is the chairman of the Palestinian Democratic Association of Lawyers, an organization linked to the PFLP. The PFLP website refers to the Democratic Association of Lawyers as a professional framework associated with the PFLP.
- Alaa Skafi, Executive Director of Al-Dameer, was the head of the Democratic Association of Lawyers and Jurists (DALJ) in 2018 (see above for more information on the DALJ).
- In his leadership role in the DALJ, Skafi often met with PFLP leaders, including with PFLP General Central Committee members Hani Khalil and Muhammed Makkawi, Head of PFLP’s Gaza Branch and member of its Political BureauJamil Mazhar, and PFLP General Central Committee member and [PFLP] Head of Khan Yunis District Nasrallah Jarghoun. The official PFLP insignia is visible in pictures posted of these meetings.
- In August 2022, Skafi spoke at a protest held by the PFLP’s official prisoners committee.
- In May 2022, Al-Dameer was a signatory on a petition titled “The Return Appeal” calling on the United Nations to “take all necessary steps and measures for immediately holding the occupation’s state accountable for all the crimes, the latter has so far committed against the Palestinian people, within strict legal means that would not allow the occupation’s criminals to evade interrogation or possible trials.”
- In October 2021, Al-Dameer published a press release condemning the decision by the Israeli Ministry to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations. The press release called on “the international community and the United Nations bodies concerned with the situation of human rights and civil work and associations to take immediate action to confront and cancel the decision of the Israeli Minister of Security.”
- In April 2021, Al-Dameer was a signatory on a joint submission to the UN Secretary-General on Intimidation and Reprisals for Cooperation with the UN, stating that “Since its establishment, Israel has created and maintained an institutionalised regime of racial domination and oppression, amounting to apartheid, over the Palestinian people as a whole…Israel has sought to fundamentally undermine key human rights and accountability work and thereby further entrenched impunity for its apartheid regime over Palestinians” (emphasis added).
- In February 2021, Al-Dameer published a joint policy paper titled “United States Policy on Palestine: 2021 and Beyond” calling for the “US to reevaluate its past blanket support of Israel” and “end the decades long environment of impunity that it has enabled for Israel to entrench its settler colonization and apartheid in the Palestinian territory.” The policy calls to “ban the import of all Israeli settlement products and services” and “End all military aid to Israel.”
- In January 2021, Al-Dameer, alongside a number of Palestinian organizations, issued a declaration that the “Vaccine Roll-Out Exposes Israel’s Inhumane Acts of Apartheid.” The statement falsely claimed that Israel has “legal obligations” to “ensure that quality vaccines be provided to Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and control.” The NGOs altogether ignore that Palestinians residing in Jerusalem are part of the Israeli health care system; that under the Oslo Accords the PA is responsible for health care of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza; and that the PA has adopted its own vaccine policy for its population.
- In December 2020, Al-Dameer issued a press release stating that “The occupation authorities violate the medical and humanitarian rights of prisoners and detainees and deny them vaccination against the Coronavirus.” Al-Dameer altogether ignored that Palestinians residing in Jerusalem are part of the Israeli health care system; that under the Oslo Accords the PA is responsible for health care of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza; and that the PA has adopted its own vaccine policyfor its population.
- In July 2019, after Israel demolished illegally-built houses in Jerusalem, Al-Dameer condemned “Israeli actions and practices, which aim to proceed with the Israeli racist plan to Judaize the city of Jerusalem and obliterate its Arab Islamic identity.” Al-Dameer further called on the International Criminal Court to “open an investigation into the crimes committed by the occupation forces against humanity.”
- On May 18, 2019, as a member of the Palestinian Human Rights Organization Council (PHROC), Al-Dameer was a signatory on a statement referring to all of Jerusalem as “occupied,” and called for the UN to “take a firm stand against…unlawful unilateral measures to be taken by the U.S. in favor of an unveiled attempt at legitimizing Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise, occupation and colonization.” The statement further called to “Ban Israeli settlement products” and “Impose individual sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on individuals that are identified as responsible for or complicit in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
- On May 15, 2018, Al-Dameer published a press release in “commemoration of the Nakba” accusing the “occupation forces” of “using excessive and lethal force” that amount to “war crimes” in response to violence at the Gaza border. The press release ignored the violent nature of the protests, which have consisted of an organized armed attack on the Israeli border and IDF positions, attempts to destroy and breach the border fence, and sustained arson, rocket, and mortar attacks on Israeli civilian communities.
- In October 2018, Al-Dameer accused Israel of “intentionally perpetuat[ing] the policy of killing and intimidating children despite repeated international condemnations,” referring to it as “a new crime added to the Zionist criminal record.”
- On July 2, 2017, Al-Dameer condemned the arrest of Khalida Jarrar, a senior official of the PFLP, claiming that it “comes within the framework of a systematic Israeli policy aimed at undermining the Palestinian political and basic system.”
- Khalida Jarrar, Addameer’s former vice-chairperson was arrested on October 31, 2019 on suspicions of “involvement in terror activity.” According to the indictment against her, Jarrar headed PFLP activities in the West Bank, and Israeli security officials revealed that Jarrar has “emerged as the head of the PFLP in the West Bank and responsible for all the organization’s activities” (emphasis added). In March 2021, Jarrar was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison following “her own confession, of the offense of holding office in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine from 2016 until her arrest in 2019.” She was released in September 2021.
- In June 2017, Al-Dameer signed a statement, marking the “50th year since the start of Israel’s occupation” calling upon the international community to refrain from “recognizing, cooperating with, or providing any assistance to Israeli occupation policies and practices”; pressure Israel to “end the closure on Gaza, withdraw all Occupying Forces from Palestinian territory,…Tear down the Annexation Wall,…Release Palestinian prisoners”; and recognize “the State of Palestine.”
- On June 6, 2017, Al-Dameer asserted that terrorists have a “right” to receive salaries and “condemn[ed] and deplore[d] the Ramallah government’s decision to cut the salaries of a number of released prisoners in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This policy was implemented unlawfully and arbitrarily in response to the Israeli and American demands to stop paying the salaries of prisoners…”
- Lobbied for the discredited 2009 Goldstone report and signatory to multiple international initiatives in favor of its skewed recommendations.
- In December 2022, Al-Dameer was a signatory on a statement “staunchly support[ing] the UN General Assembly Request for an International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on the Consequences of Israel’s Prolonged Occupation of Palestine.” The statement urged the ICJ to “use this advisory opinion to support the Palestinian people as a whole, who remain under the domination of Israel’s discriminatory laws, policies and practices.”
- Al-Dameer has submitted various documents to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
- In November 2022, Al-Dameer was a signatory on a letter to the ICC Prosecutor to “Urgently expedite his investigation into the Situation of Palestine, including the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.”
- On February 6, 2021, following the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber Iruling that the Court has jurisdiction to investigate alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories, Al-Dameer, alongside Al-Haq, Al-Mezan, and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), published a press release stating, “…it is imperative that the Prosecutor include acts of apartheid in the scope of her investigation…The decision confirmed the State of Palestine… as a full and legitimate State Party to the Rome Statute, and the entirety of the oPt as within the scope of territorial jurisdiction for investigation into international crimes…” (emphasis added). The organizations stressed that they will continue their “tireless” cooperation with the ICC, having submitted “six substantial communications and thousands of eyewitness files to the Office of the Prosecutor…”
- In March 2020, alongside Al-Mezan, Al-Haq, and Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Al-Dameer submitted an amicus brief “welcom[ing[ and support[ing] the findings of the Prosecutor that there is a reasonable basis to believe that international crimes have been committed in the occupied Palestinian territory, comprising the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.”
- In December 2017, Al-Dameer, Al Mezan, Al-Haq, and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) submitted a communication calling for the Prosecutor at the ICC to “open an investigation into the serious international crimes committed during the July-August 2014 Israeli military offensive.”
- On September 20, 2017, these NGOs submitted a “substantive communication” to the Prosecutor of the ICC alleging that “high-level Israeli civilian and military officials have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem.”
- On November 22, 2016, delivered a submission to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, “Requesting Investigation and Prosecution of The Illegal Closure of the Gaza Strip.” Shawan Jabarin, Al-Haq director, claimed, “The ICC Prosecutor has a golden opportunity to bring an end to the suffering of the entire Palestinian population.”
- In February 2016, the NGOs “provided evidence of the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity” and concluded that “high-ranking Israeli military and civilian officials committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during Operation Protective Edge.”
- On November 23, 2015, the four NGOs submitted a document to Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), claiming evidence and testimonies of alleged Israeli “war crimes” perpetrated during the 2014 Gaza war.
- In February 2023, Al-Dameer was a signatory o a statement “welcom[ing] the historic announcement by the Barcelona City Council to suspend all institutional relations with apartheid Israel.” The statement called for “arms embargo against apartheid Israel, stopping trade with Israel’s illegal colonial settlements, and ending projects and agreements that sustain the illegal situation, including the EU-Israel Association Agreement, the EU-Israel Association Council, international agreements for gas pipes through the Gaza coast, and the Euro-Asia Interconnector project receiving electricity from Israel’s colonial settlement enterprise.”
- In August 2021, Al-Dameer signed a letter to the States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty calling to “put an end to Israel’s notorious use of arms and military equipment…by immediately imposing a comprehensive two-way arms embargo on Israel.” According to the letter, “This systematic brutality, perpetrated throughout the past seven decades of Israel’s colonialism, apartheid, pro-longed illegal belligerent occupation, persecution, and closure, is only possible because of the complicity of some governments and corporations around the world.”
- In June 2021, Al-Dameer was a signatory on a letter to President Biden to “Halt Weapons Sales to Israel.”
- In May 2021, Al-Dameer was a signatory on a statement calling to “Ban arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel,” “Suspend free-trade agreements with Israel,” and “Ensure that individuals and corporate actors responsible for war crimes/crimes against humanity in the context of Israel’s regime of illegal occupation and apartheid are brought to justice.”
- In July 2020, in response to the “Report of the Special Rapporteur addressing Israel’s Collective Punishment Policy,” Al-Dameer called on “Third States to adopt effective measures to put an end to Israel’s illegal and inhumane policies of collective punishment, including sanctions and countermeasures, to bring the illegal situation to an end” (emphasis added).
- In May 2020, Al-Dameer was a signatory on a statement calling for “Immediate targeted sanctions to stop Israel’s annexation and apartheid.” The statement further called for “A ban on arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel,” “Suspension of trade and cooperation agreements with Israel,” and “Investigation and prosecution of individuals and corporate actors responsible for war crimes/crimes against humanity in the context of Israel’s regime of illegal occupation and apartheid.”
- In 2018-2019, Al-Dameer lobbied intensively in support of the discriminatory UN database of businesses operating across the 1949 Armistice line, aimed at bolstering BDS campaigns against Israel. Al-Dameer has signed multiple letters to the UN calling for the database to be implemented without further delay.
- In September 2022, Al-Dameer endorsed a report by Al-Haq and Just Peace Advocates calling to “Update the UN database annually” and “Continue to exert the necessary efforts to ensure transparency and promote accountability for business activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, to counter the pervasive impunity stemming from corporate- related violations and grave breaches of international law in such contexts.”
- In November 2019, as a member of PNGO and PHROC, Al-Dameer signed a statement calling for the “international community to immediately impose sanctions on the State of Israel and illegal Israeli settlements” and “implement domestic legislation to prohibit and criminalize the import of illegal settlement goods and services into their territory.”
- In May 2019, Al-Dameer was a signatory on a statement calling on the German Bundestag to revoke a joint resolution defining BDS campaigns against Israel as antisemitic.
- According to Al-Dameer, the German Parliament is “complicit with the occupation by violating the rights of the people and violating international law, and urges the occupying power to continue to commit its crimes and to practice further racial oppression against the Palestinian people.”
- In February 2019, Al-Dameer was a signatory on a letter to the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund calling to refrain from investing money in “Israel’s unlawful settlement enterprise.” According to the letter, “corporations may be complicit in aiding and abetting the destruction of property and forcible displacement of the Palestinian population, amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
- In May 2018, following the United States relocation of its embassy to Jerusalem, Al-Dameer, as a member of PHROC, signed a call to states to “take immediate and practical measures, including by halting their aid and support to Israel, and imposing sanctions until Israel ends its annexation and unlawful prolonged occupation of the Palestinian territory.”
- In February 2016, Al-Dameer signed a pro-BDS statement that hails BDS as “an important nonviolent counter-narrative and alternative for achieving the enjoyment and exercise of freedom, dignity, and justice.”
- In 2014, Al-Dameer signed a petition calling on the Gates Foundation to divest from the G4S security firm, over its operations in Israel as it is “legitimising and profiting from Israel’s use of torture and mass incarceration.” It supported a similar BDS declaration in 2012.
- In 2011, then General Director Khalil Abu Shammala signed a petition calling for the Dutch government to divest from Veolia and to block it from being awarded tenders for public projects. The call came as a result of Veolia’s involvement in constructing Jerusalem’s light-rail. In 2013, a French court ruled that this construction was legal under international law.
- Al-Dameer is a signatory to the 2005 Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS.
- Member of Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), which refused to sign the anti-terror clause that is a condition of US government funding, stating “that its members would not sign funding agreements that included the ATC [Anti-Terror Certificate]: this is now a condition for membership under PNGO byelaws [sic]” (emphasis added).
- In January 2020, PNGO refused to sign a European Union grant request that requires recipients to refuse to “transfer any E.U. assistance given to terrorist groups or entities.”
- In April 2017, PNGO called on the international community not to “use aid to undermine legitimate Palestinian resistance.” According to PNGO, “We reject all de-legitimization or criminalization of lawful Palestinian resistance, whether in form of allegations of terrorism, anti-semitism or otherwise… We call on all governments and aid providers to respect our right to lawful resistance, support Palestinian human rights defenders, and ensure equal, impartial and transparent access to funding for all.”
- In March 2016, as a member of Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), PNGO stated that “Israel’s current government, its most racist ever, has dropped all pretences of ‘enlightenment’ and ‘democracy’. This has helped to expose Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid to world public opinion like never before.”
- Member of Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC).
- On November 16, 2017, PHROC released a statement “in solidarity” with the Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC) following the decision of the Secretariat (joint funding from Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands) to pull funding from WATC due to its naming of a youth center after Dalal Mughrabi, a terrorist who in 1978 murdered 37 civilians, including 12 children.
- In February 2016, PHROC issued a statement that “For decades, Israel has failed to uphold its duties as Occupying Power and has instead deepened its occupation and regime of colonialism and apartheid” and “affirm[ed] the right of all individuals to participate in and advocate for boycott, divestment, and sanction actions, and calls on states and businesses to uphold their related legal responsibilities” and stated that the EU November 2015 labeling move against Israeli settlement products is “insufficient,” calling for a complete ban (emphasis added).
- In November 2016, PHROC sent a submission to Michael Lynk, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in the Palestinian Territories, on “Human Rights Defenders in the OPT…highlight[ing] the repressive environment within which human rights defenders (HRDs) work in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” The submission referred to Manal Tamimi as a “human rights defender,” however Tamimi frequently utilizes antisemitic and violent rhetoric and imagery on social media.
- In August 2015, Tamimi tweeted, “I do hate Israel, i (sic) wish a thrid Intefada (sic) coming soon and people rais (sic) up and kills all these zionist settlers everywhere.”
2014-2020 Funding to Al-Dameer
|National Endowment for Democracy