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Holy Land Trust (HLT)

Profile

Country/TerritoryPalestinian Authority
Websitewww.holylandtrust.org/
In their own words“Through a commitment to the principles of nonviolence, HLT seeks to develop spiritual, pragmatic, and strategic approaches that will empower the Palestinian community to resist all forms of oppression, and engage this same community in making the Holy Land be what it is supposed to be: a global model and pillar of understanding, respect, justice, equality and peaceful coexistence.”

Funding

Funding information is not available on HLT’s website. Correspondence with the British government shows that HLT received ₤15,000 from the UK in 2010-2011. The National Endowment for Democracy, a US-funded institute, granted HLT a total of $124,300 for the years 2009, 2010, and 2012.

Activities

  • Conducts highly politicized tours promoting the Palestinian narrative and targeting church leaders and the international community, claiming to provide “cross cultural and experimental learning opportunities in both Palestine and Israel.” Suggests that its participants “limit information” given to Israeli airport security and hide the reason for their visits.
  • Sami Awad is Executive Director and Founder of Holy Land Trust (HLT). Awad has stated that non-violent demonstrations are “not a substitute for the armed struggle.” Awad has also minimized Israel’s legitimate security needs as a “manipulation” of the fear of another Jewish Holocaust. In a speech given at the “Christ at the Checkpoint” Conference in 2010, Awad stated that “the [Israeli] soldier now, who’s gone through that trauma experience [of visiting Auschwitz] now is trained in this weaponry all of a sudden is also put at a checkpoint inside the West Bank, between Palestinian areas.”
  • Speaking at the National Leadership Conference for the Vineyard Church in 2009, Awad told the audience: “We’ve actually done training in non-violence for Hamas leaders and other militant groups as well” (at 01:20:27 in the audio). Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization by the US State Department and the EU.  Further, the US Supreme Court upheld a law criminalizing material support for terror organizations.  (Holder, Attorney General, et al. v. Humanitarian Law Project et al. 2010).  The law defines “material support” as including “any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including… training, expert advice or assistance…”  (See above for details of US government funding of HLT.)
  • Supports anti-Israel BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions), including signing a petition in May 2005 calling for the academic boycott of Israel, signing the 2005 “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS,” and supporting the Kairos Palestine document.
  • HLT produced a film called “Little Town of Bethlehem,” date a 77-minute documentary that tells the story “of three men of three different faiths and their lives in Israel and Palestine. The story explores each man’s choice of nonviolent action amidst a culture of overwhelming violence.” Using a façade of multiple viewpoints, however, the film actually presents a single narrative of Palestinian victimization and Israeli violence.
  • A December 2005 HLT conference included radical NGOs such as the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), Sabeel, and Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).

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Further Reading