A number of European governments have joined the US and others in demanding that the Palestinian Authority (PA) end its policy of paying salaries to, and hence incentivizing, Palestinian prisoners convicted of terror crimes. The UK froze some of its aid to the PA over this issue; Germany launched an investigation; Norway “demanded that the PA stop using its funds — which include donations by foreign countries — to support convicted terrorists and their families”; a Parliamentary motion in the Netherlands noted that “this funding can have a negative effect, in which criminality and terrorism are rewarded”; and the EU emphasized that “allowances…for Palestinian prisoners, their families and ex-detainees” have “never been financed by the EU.”
This opposition ought to be self-evident, recognizing the fundamental contradiction between human rights and such policies.
Yet, in sharp contrast, a number of Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) receiving European government funding under the banner of human rights assert that terrorists have a “right” to receive salaries and that suspending these payments is a violation of international law. NGO officials have also not questioned the legitimacy of violent responses by the Palestinian street, and some of their statements can be interpreted as veiled threats of violence meant to prevent an end to payments.
These NGO statements demonstrate the inconsistency between the label of “human rights” organizations and their activities.
Excerpts from NGO Statements:
Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) – Funders include Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (a joint funding framework of Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland), Norway, Spain, and Ireland.
- On July 25, 2017, the PCHR organized a workshop on “Consequences of Former Prisoners’ Salary Suspension on their Economic and Social Rights.” PCHR director, Raji Sourani, stated that “the decision of suspending former prisoners’ salaries was shocking to the prisoners, their families and all Palestinians as it is illegal, immoral, and violates the Basic Law and the international human rights law.”
- In the 1980s, Sourani was convicted for his membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization.
- General Director Shawan Jabarin stated that “If their rights are eroded we are heading for a real crisis in Palestinian society and in due course toward an explosion.”
- Jabarin also has alleged ties to the PFLP terrorist organization.
- Director General Helmi al-Aaraj was quoted stating that, “To lay a finger on the prisoners’ rights is to attack the Palestinian struggle.”
Al-Dameer – Funders include Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (a joint funding framework of Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland), European Union, National Endowment for Democracy (US).
- On June 6, 2017, Al-Dameer stated that the organization “condemns and deplores 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…”