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The Israeli ambassador to Ireland has raised concerns with the Department of Foreign Affairs about Ireland’s funding of non-governmental organisations working with Palestinian groups.
Dr Zion Evrony has held discussions on the funding with Michael Kitt, the Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs. The talks follow a report by an Israeli agency which monitors NGO activity in the region.
In its report, NGO Monitor said the department funded ‘‘highly biased and conflict-producing NGOs’’. It listed Trocaire, al-Haq, Christian Aid and War on Want, the group for which former Labour MP George Galloway served as general secretary in the 1980s.
Evrony also raised the NGO Monitor report with the chairman of the Oireachtas committee on foreign affairs, Michael Woods. The report criticised Irish Aid-funded NGOs, claiming they ignored ‘‘continued Qassam rocket attacks on Israeli civilians’’.
The report also noted claims on the website of al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights organisation, that it is a recipient of funding from Irish Aid.
Shawan Jabarin, the organisation’s director general, has allegedly ‘‘been linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror organisation’’. The report was also critical of War On Want, which also claims to have received Irish funding.
NGO Monitor has been accused of being politically motivated and being linked to hardline Israeli political and military interests.
The group’s report was discussed at a meeting of the Oireachtas committee on funding for Palestinian groups and humanitarian aid last month. A senior civil servant at the Department of Foreign Affairs told the committee that the department was aware of the NGO Monitor report and said that Kitt had moved to reassure Evrony.
He told the committee that the minister had provided the ‘‘necessary assurances that our money is going exactly where it is intended and that everything is above board. Those assurances were accepted by the Israeli ambassador’’.
Evrony declined to comment when contacted by The Sunday Business Post.