- Spanish funding to NGOs is highly decentralized, taking place at several levels of governance. Funds are managed and allocated by the central government, autonomous communities, provincial deputations, municipalities, and bar associations – and are usually channeled via highly politicized Spanish NGOs, reflecting deep political fissures and regional radicalization.
- Spain provides millions of euros to highly politicized non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that promote anti-Israel narratives, including antisemitism, incitement, lawfare, and discriminatory BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) Some of these groups also have ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – a designated terrorist organization by the EU, US, Canada, and Israel.
- On June 28, 2017, NGO Monitor and ACOM presented a joint report on Spanish funding in the Spanish Parliament. At this event, MK Yair Lapid, Chair of the centrist Yesh Atid party, encouraged his counterparts in Spain to take steps to prevent counterproductive and detrimental government funding
Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID)
- The largest Spanish foreign aid donor is the Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), under the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. According to its charter, the agency was created “to foster full development, conceived as a fundamental human right, with the fight against poverty as part of the process for building this right.”
- In addition to directly funding various Palestinian and Israeli NGOs, AECID funds projects carried out by Spanish NGOs together with local partners.
- AECID has provided funding to several projects partnering with a number of highly biased and politicized NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict, including Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC), Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC), Bisan Centre for Research and Development, Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC), the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ), and the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC). All of these organizations promote BDS and utilize demonizing rhetoric, and five of these beneficiaries have reported ties to the PFLP.
- In parallel, AECID provides funding to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) – a group that engages in lawfare and international delegitimization campaigns against Israel. (See NGO Monitor’s report “Flooding the Courts: The Norwegian Refugee Council’s European-Funded Proxy War” for details.)
Palestinian NGOs funded through AECID
- In 2019-2021, AECID is granting €400,000to the Union of Agricultural Works Committee (UAWC) for “Improving the economic situation of vulnerable farmers.”
- UAWC is identified by Fatah as an official “affiliate,” and by USAID-engaged audit as the “agricultural arm” of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated terrorist organization by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel. According to academic scholar Glenn E. Robinson, UAWC was founded in 1986 by “agronomists loosely affiliated with the PFLP.”
- UAWC staff members, founders, board members, general assembly members, and senior staff members have ties to the PFLP terror group. For more information on UAWC’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Union of Agricultural Work Committees Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”
- Samer Arbid, Union of Agricultural Works Committee’s accountant from 2016 until his arrest in 2019, was indicted on 21 counts in Israeli military court. Arbid is on trial for commanding a PFLP terror cell that carried out a bombing, murdering an Israeli civilian, and injuring her father and brother. According to the indictment against him (on file), Arbid prepared and detonated the explosive device. On August 30, 2020, the PFLP referred to Arbid as a “prisoner and commander,” and “one of the heroes of the Bubeen operation” — referring to the August 2019 bombing.
- Abdel Razeq Farraj, UAWC’s “Finance and Administration Director” is currently standing trial. According to his indictment (on file), Razeq Farraj held a senior PFLP post and authorized the August 2019 bombing.
- In 2020-2021, AECID is granting €300,000 to the Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC) for “improved access to comprehensive services for survivors of violence.”
- UHWC is identified by Fatah as an official PFLP “affiliate” and by USAIDas the “the PFLP’s health organization.” Several UHWC board and staff members have reported ties to the terrorist group.
- HWC’s Youth Development Program, “A community, cultural, and social development program that provide services to Jerusalemite youth through ‘Nidal Center,’” was shut down by Israeli authorities from 2009 to 2012 because, in the words of the Jerusalem District Court, it served as “a place of action of the [PFLP] organization.” According to the Jerusalem District Court, “following the closure of the [Center], the PFLP began operating under the guise of the non-profit the Union of Health Work Committees – Jerusalem…on June 9, 2015 at the request of the Minister of Defense the non-profit was an unlawful organization…”
- Rabah Muhana, one of UHWC’s founders and former head, served as a member of the PFLP political bureau. On May 5, 2019, the PFLP issued a statement mourning Muhanna’s death and referring to him as a “warrior and a great national leader” and “one of the most prominent national leaders in the Gaza Strip.” During his funeral, Muhanna’s coffin was escorted by armed PFLP militants.
- In 2020-2022, AECID is granting the Spanish NGO Mundubat €449,735 for a project titled “Comprehensive Protection of the Palestinian Population in East Jerusalem.” According to Mundubat, the project partners include the PFLP-linked DCI-P and UPWC.
- Numerous individuals with alleged ties to the PFLP have been employed and appointed as board members at DCI-P. For more information on DCI-P’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Defense for Children International – Palestine’s Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”
- UPWC is identified by Fatah as an official “affiliate” and by USAID-engaged audit as the “women’s organization” of the PFLP. Several UPWC staff members, founders, board members, general assembly members, and senior staff members have ties to the PFLP terror group. For detailed information on UPWC’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report, “The Union of Palestinian Women Committees Society’s Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”
- In 2019-2021, Ma’an Development Center is receiving €300,000 from AECID for “Responding to the WASH and GBV needs of the most vulnerable population.”
- In May 2019, MA’AN Director General Sami Khader attended a memorial event organized by the PFLP that centered on PFLP political bureau member Rabah Muhanna. The hall was decorated with PFLP paraphernalia.
- 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 PFLP terror group.
- In 2016-2017, AECID provided the Spanish NGOs Fundacion Alianza Por Los Derechos and La Igualdad Y La Solidaridad Internacional with €586,626to “Fight against Gender Violence in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.” The project partners include Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC), Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA) and YMCA – East Jerusalem.
- In May 2017, WATC inaugurated a youth center for girls in the town of Burqa, near Nablus. As reported by Palestinian Media Watch, the center is named after Dalal Mughrabi, a terrorist who in 1978 murdered 37 civilians, including 12 children. Funding for this building was provided by Norway, UN Women (United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women), and Palestinian Authority Ministry of Local Government.
- In September 2017, CFTA organized a workshop on the rights of women in partnership with the PFLP. The workshop “touched upon a number of solid Palestinian feminist models such as Taghreed Al-Buttama, Maha Nassar and Laila Khaled, who have taught the Zionist enemy painful lessons in various combat operations.”
AECID Funding to Israeli NGOs
- In 2019-2020, Breaking the Silence received NIS 135,808 from AECID.
- Breaking the Silence makes sweeping accusations based on anecdotal, anonymous, and unverifiable accounts of often low-ranked soldiers. These “testimonies” lack context, are politically biased, and erase the complicated reality in the West Bank. In addition, they reflect a distorted interpretation of the conflict in order to advance the political agenda of Breaking the Silence activists, thereby fueling the international campaigns against Israel.
- In 2020, B’Tselem received NIS 19,926 from AECID.
- In 2019, Yesh Din received NIS 627,840 from AECID.
- 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.
- In 2019, Kerem Navot received NIS 30,861from AECID.
- In December 2018, Kerem Navot, in cooperation with Human Rights Watch, published a report titled “Bed and Breakfast on Stolen Land: Tourist Rental Listings in West Bank Settlements” that was the culmination of a two-year long coordinated and well-financed BDS campaign targeting Airbnb (and Booking.com). The report contained numerous false claims regarding the legal and human rights responsibility of Airbnb in allowing Israelis from the West Bank to list their properties, as well as questionable methodology.
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
- In 2019, AECID provided NRC with €500,000 as part of its “Humanitarian Support to Protect Palestinians in the West Bank from forcible transfer.” In 2017, Spain provided NRC €128,452for NRC’s Information, Counseling and Legal Assistance (ICLA) program.
- ICLA, one of NRC’s principle projects in Israel, exploits judicial frameworks to manipulate Israeli policy, bypassing democratic frameworks.
- A lawyer affiliated with the NRC program statedthat the objective of these cases are an attempt to “try every possible legal measure to disrupt the Israeli judicial system…as many cases as possible are registered and that as many cases as possible are appealed to increase the workload of the courts and the Supreme Court to such an extent that there will be a blockage” (emphasis added)
AECID Funding to Politicized NGOs Active in the Arab-Israeli Conflict
|2020-2022||Mundubat, DCI-P, UPWC, JLAC||€449,735|
|2019||Ma’an Development Center||€300,000|
|2016-2017||WATC, CFTA, YMCA – East Jerusalem||€586,626|
|2019-2020||Breaking the Silence||NIS 135,808|
|2019||Yesh Din||NIS 627,840|
|2019||Kerem Navot||NIS 30,861|
|2019||Norwegian Refugee Council||€500,000|
Basque Autonomous Community
- Since 2014, the Basque Autonomous Community has provided at least €5.2 million to Palestinian PFLP linked NGOs, including Addameer, Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC), Health Work Committees (HWC), Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC).
- Funding of Palestinian NGOs is mainly channeled via politicized Spanish NGOs and is granted by multiple Basque governmental bodies such as the Basque Government; Provincial Councils of Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa; and the Municipalities of Bilbao, San Sebastián and Vitoria-Gasteiz.
- The Basque Autonomous Community also funds projects to develop and strengthen BDS campaigns.
NGOs funded through the Basque Autonomous Community
- Since 2014, the Basque Autonomous Community provided at least €8 million for projects with Addameer.
- In 2019-2021, the Basque Agency for Development Cooperation (AVCD) is granting Mundubat €799,362 for “Comprehensive Protection of the Palestinian Population in East Jerusalem.” Implementing partners for the project include Addameer, Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC), and the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC).
- In 2019-2021, SODePAZ and Addameer are receiving €50,000 from the municipality of San Sebastián for the “Defense of the Rights of Palestinian Political Prisoners, Their Families and all People at Risk of Detention through Legal Aid, Training and Representation, with Special Attention to International Advocacy.”
- In 2017-2019, AVCD provided Addameer with €180,000 for the “protection of the rights of Palestinian prisoners.”
- Addameer is an “affiliate” of the PFLP terror group. Several of Addameer’s current and former employees, as well as lawyers that work for Addameer, are linked to the terror group. For more information on Addameer’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Addameer’s Ties to the PFLP Terrorist Group.”
- Addameer is a leader of campaigns in support of Palestinians prisoners convicted of security offenses, referring to them as “political prisoners” and altogether omitting the context of violence and terror.
Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC) (See above)
- Since 2014, the Basque Autonomous Community provided at least €2 million for projects with UPWC.
- In 2019-2021, UPWC is an implementing partner on a €799,362 project funded by AVCD for “Comprehensive Protection of the Palestinian Population in East Jerusalem.” (See more on this project above.)
- In 2019-2021, the municipality of San Sebastián provided UPWC and Mundubat with €45,499 for “Promoting the Political Participation of Palestinian Women in Defense of Their Rights.”
- In 2019-2020, AVCD provided UPWC and Mundubat with €199,946 for a project titled “Psychosocial Support for the Gazans of the Gaza Strip-Palestine.”
- In 2019-2020, the municipality of San Sebastián provided UPWC and Mundubat with €17,446 for a project titled “Community Psychosocial Support Systems for Women and Minors in the Gaza Strip who are Victims of Human Rights Violations.”
- In 2015-2018, AVCD provided Mundubat with €640,610 for “strengthening community resistance and Palestinian social cohesion in east Jerusalem.” The project, which lists the PFLP affiliated NGO UPWC as a local partner, is part of the Kanan project, a project dedicated to strengthening “the social and political participation channels of the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem through enhancing the capacity of the youth.”
- Since 2014, the Basque Autonomous Community provided at least €2 million for projects partnering with UHWC.
- In 2019, Provincial Council of Bizkaia provided €80,000 to UHWC and Paz con Dignidad for “Comprehensive Health Services for Women and Youth in Northern Gaza.”
- In 2017-2018, AVCD provided €200,000 to UHWC and Paz con Dignidad to “improve the response capacity in emergency situations of the Al-Awda hospital in the northern area of the Gaza strip.”
- UHWC is identified by Fatah as a PFLP “affiliate” and by a USAID-engaged audit as “the PFLP’s health organization.” Numerous UHWC staff members, founders, board members, general assembly members, and senior staff members have ties to the PFLP terror group. For more information on UHWC’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Union of Health Work Committees’ Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”
Health Work Committees (HWC)
- Since 2014, the Basque Autonomous Community provided at least €6 million for projects partnering with HWC.
- HWC has been referred to as a “sister organization” of the PFLP “affiliate” UHWC.
- On June 9, 2015, the Israel defense minister announced that the Jerusalem branch of the Health Work Committee is an unlawful association, designated as a terrorist organization by the Israel High Court of Justice (HCJ 3923/15; emphasis added).
- Walid Hanatsheh (Abu Ras), HWC’s finance and administration manager, is on trial for allegedly being the leader of PFLP “military” operations and commanding the PFLP terror cell that carried out the August 2019 bombing attack (see UAWC above). According to the indictment against him, Hanatsheh bankrolled the bombing. Following his arrest, the PFLP labeled Hanatsheh a “leader in the Popular Front.”
Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P) (see above)
- In 2019-2021, DCI-P is an implementing partner on a €799,362 project funded by AVCD for “Comprehensive Protection of the Palestinian Population in East Jerusalem.” (See more on this project above.)
- In 2019-2020, the municipality of Vitoria-Gasteiz granted DCI-P and Mundubat with €67,682 for a project titled “Comprehensive Protection of Palestinian Children in East Jerusalem.”
Basque Autonomous Community Funding to Palestinian NGOs
|2019-2021||Municipality of San Sebastián||€45,499||Mundubat; UPWC|
|2019-2021||Municipality of San Sebastián||€50,000||SODePAZ; Addameer|
|2019-2020||Municipality of San Sebastián||€17,446||Mundubat; UPWC|
|2019-2020||Provincial council of Gipuzkoa||€40,000||SODePAZ; HWC|
|2019-2020||Municipality of Vitoria-Gasteiz||€67,682||Mundubat; DCI-P|
|2019-2020||Provincial Council of Bizkaia||€80,000||Paz con Dignidad; UHWC|
|2019-2021||AVCD||€799,362||Mundubat; UPWC;DCI-P; Addameer; JLAC|
|2018-2019||Municipality of Vitoria-Gasteiz||€56,999||Solidaridad Internacional; Addameer|
|2018-2020||Municipality of San Sebastián||€50,000||SODePAZ; Addameer|
|2018-2020||Municipality of San Sebastián||€11,630||SODePAZ; HWC|
|2018-2019||Provincial council of Gipuzkoa||€120,000||Paz con Dignidad; BADIL|
|2017-2018||AVCD||€200,000||Paz con Dignidad; UHWC|
|2017-2018||Provincial Council of Bizkaia||€80,000||Paz con Dignidad; UHWC|
|2017-2019||Municipality of San Sebastián||€48,643||SODePAZ; Addameer|
|2016-2018||AVCD||€200,000||Paz con Dignidad; UHWC|
|2016-2017||Municipality of Vitoria-Gasteiz||€68,332||Solidaridad Internacional; Addameer|
|2016-2018||Provincial council of Gipuzkoa||€81,248||SODePAZ; Addameer|
|2016-2018||Municipality of San Sebastián||€66,489||SODePAZ; Addameer|
|2016-2017||Provincial Council of Bizkaia||€80,000||Paz con Dignidad; UHWC|
|2015-2016||Provincial Council of Bizkaia||€70,000||Paz con Dignidad; UHWC|
|2015-2016||AVCD||€200,000||Paz con Dignidad; UHWC|
|2015-2018||AVCD||€800,764||Mundubat; UPWC; DCI-P; LRC; AIC, Bisan, HWC|
|2015-2016||Provincial Council of Bizkaia||€7,500||Mundubat; HWC|
|2015||Provincial Council of Bizkaia||€69,450||Mundubat; UAWC|
|2015-2017||Municipality of San Sebastián||€69,429||SODePAZ; Addameer|
|2014-2015||AVCD||€199,246||Paz con Dignidad; UHWC|
|2014-2016||AVCD||€514,837||Paz con Dignidad; HWC|
|2014-2015||Municipality of Vitoria-Gasteiz||€97,947||Solidaridad Internacional; Addameer|
|2014-2015||Provincial council of Gipuzkoa||€23,999||Mikelazulo Kultur Elkartea; UAWC|
|2014||Municipality of Bilbao||€30,000||Mundubat; UAWC|
|2014-2015||Provincial Council of Bizkaia||€70,000||Paz con Dignidad; UHWC|
|2014-2016||Municipality of San Sebastián||€68,921||SODePAZ; PCHR|
Navarre Autonomous Community
In 2015-2019, Navarre Autonomous Community provided SODePAZ with €634,376 for a project titled “Protection of the rights of the Palestinian population detained in Israeli prisons.” The PFLP “affiliate” Addameer is listed as the partner of the project.
Andalucía Agency for International Development Cooperation (AACID)
- Andalucía Agency for International Development Cooperation (AACID) is a primary donor to NGO-led activities in the Arab-Israeli conflict, designating €900,000 and €1.5 million for activities in 2019 and 2018 respectively.
- The website Cooperanda (AACID’s database) lists 25 projects with a total volume of over €5 million conducted in the “Palestinian Territories,” implemented mainly by NGOs, including the PFLP-linked UHWC, Alternative Information Center (AIC), and Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), and other NGOs such as Psycho-Social Counseling Center for Women (PSCCW), and Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC).
NGOs funded through AACID and Andalusian Municipalities
- Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC)
- In 2018-2019, UHWC was an implementing partner on a €300,000 project for “Women leading and strengthening community protection mechanisms in northern Gaza.”
- In 2017-2018, UHWC was an implementing partner on a €299,840 project for “Strengthening of the humanitarian protection system for women survivors of gender-based violence in the northern and middle areas of Gaza.”
- Alternative Information Center (AIC)
- In 2016-2017, AIC and the Spanish NGO Al Quds Association received €80,000 for “Building bridges between Palestinian and Israeli human rights defenders through training, co-resistance and the promotion of a just peace.”
In addition to AACID, Al Quds Association reports funding by local Andalusian governmental bodies to HWC, PCHR, and AIC. (See table below).
|2019||Municipality of Málaga||“Right of access to medical care for the most vulnerable Palestinian population in isolated areas of Area C. West Bank (Palestine)”||€14,595||HWC|
|Provincial Council of Málaga||€35,599|
|2019||Municipality of Casares||“Protecting the right of access to healthcare in the Gaza Strip (Palestine)”||€15,000||PCHR|
|2018||Municipality of Málaga||“Strengthening capacities for comprehensive health care and reproductive and sexual health of women in rural areas of Bethlehem, West Bank”||€12,297||HWC|
|Provincial Council of Málaga||€30,000|
|2018||Provincial Council of Málaga||“Protection and promotion of women's rights in the Gaza Strip through access to justice, empowerment and legal defense”||€20,000||PCHR|
|2017||Municipality of Málaga||“Protection of women's social and reproductive rights through health care and empowerment against gender-based violence”||€7,750||HWC|
|2017||Provincial Council of Málaga||“Making visible the construction of bridges of dialogue between Palestinian and Israeli Human Rights defenders”||€25,000||AIC|
|2016||Municipality of Málaga||“Protecting the health of Palestinian women through||€13,420||HWC|
|Cancer diagnosis, prevention and treatment in the West Bank.”|
|2016||Provincial Council of Málaga||“Making visible the construction of bridges of dialogue between Palestinian and Israeli Human Rights defenders”||€25,000||AIC|
- This is how Spain funds the hatred of Israel Pablo Molina, El Medio, May 4, 2017
- Is Spain Fueling the BDS War Against Israel? Soeren Kern, August 22, 2015
- Interview: Spanish Funds Support the BDS Movement and the Matisyahu Affair Jerusalem Online, August 23, 2015
- Kidnapped Israeli Teens Compel Scrutiny of Hamas's International Finances Matthew Levitt, The New Republic, June 24, 2014