In a July 18, 2008 posting on the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) website, Jeff Halper (the leader of this highly politicized group) announced the support of the Spanish government for ICAHD’s Summer Camp. The posting claimed that “the Spanish government is paying for the construction of an entire Palestinian home, plus the expenses of 18 members of Spanish NGOs who will join the camp.” According to ICAHD, which often promotes demonization of Israel and uses terms such as “apartheid”, the house in question was demolished by Israel.
In a phone conversation, NGO Monitor confirmed the controversial funding for ICAHD with Eva Suarez, Project Manager for the Spanish Cooperation Office in Jerusalem, but she refused to answer specific questions related to the home building project and the scope of funding to ICAHD, which is inconsistent with EU transparency policies. For example, she would not provide information on the amount of funds involved, the names of the Spanish NGOs participating in the project and how the NGOs and funds were authorized by the Spanish government.
ICAHD, an anti-Israel NGO funded largely by European Union, falsely accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing and state terrorism. It also participates in conferences and campaigns that promote a radical pro-Palestinian position, such as those held by Sabeel. In an August 2007 conference, Jennifer Loewenstein from ICAHD referred to “Israeli crimes, including its bloody and sadistic actions in Gaza and its atrocities….,” and declared that “with every action, Palestine was becoming increasingly invisible, a non-entity for non-people.” These are clearly partisan positions that are entirely outside the framework of universal human rights.
NGO Monitor will continue to press Spanish government officials involved in funding such controversial NGOs to provide the missing details, and act in a fully transparent manner.