NGO Monitor Letter to the President of the European Parliament Regarding an Event in the EP that featured PFLP members and Samidoun


Dear Mr. Sassoli,

Congratulations on your election to this important position. We wish you success.

In your capacity as President of the European Parliament, we wish to bring to your attention a highly disturbing event. On July 10, 2019, members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization and an NGO, Samidoun, spoke at the European Parliament in Brussels. The event was organized by MEP Manu Pineda from the Spanish United Left (Izquierda Unida).

Samidoun has links to the PFLP, including serving as a main advocate for the release of Palestinian prisoners with many ties to this organization that is responsible for hijackings, suicide bombings, and assassinations. The PFLP is designated as as a terrorist group by the EU (including in the latest Council update dated August 4, 20171), the United States,2 Canada,3 and Israel,4 among others. As a result of these ties, global payment providers PayPal, Donorbox, and Plaid severed ties with Samidoun in 2019.5

  • Khaled Barakat is described as a “leader”6 by the PFLP, and according to Fatah, he is a member of the PFLP’s central committee and head of their Foreign Operations Department.7 Additionally, Barakat is the “International Coordinator”8 for the “Campaign to Free Ahmad Saadat.” Saadat, the PFLP’s Secretary-General,9 was sentenced to 30 years in prison for heading an “illegal terrorist organization,” as well as for his involvement in planning many of the group’s attacks including the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi.
    • During a 2015 interview with the PFLP,10 Barakat endorsed violence against Israelis, saying, “Popular armed resistance alone has the potential to defeat the occupation and the settlers, not anything else.”
  • Mohammed Khatib is a PFLP member11 and also serves as Samidoun’s coordinator in Europe.12
    • In 2017 Khatib was denied an entrance visa to the United States,13 and he is active in efforts to secure the release of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah14 who is currently serving a life sentence in France for the murder of a US military attaché and Israeli diplomat Yaakov Bar-Simantov.

Pursuant to Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/1426, the PFLP is included on the Council’s list15 of persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts and subject to restrictive measures. Thus, the fact that Samidoun, Mr. Barakat, and Mr. Khatib freely entered the European Parliament is highly alarming.

Furthermore, following a 2017 event in which terrorist Leila Khaled spoke,16 then-President Tajani, in the Conference of Presidents, expressed the view that “such an incident must not be repeated in the future,” and therefore, “the Directorate-General for Security and Safety take measures to systematically deny access to the Parliament’s premises to representatives of organisations or persons included in the aforementioned list.”17

Despite the ban, as endorsed by the European Parliament Bureau,18 members of the PFLP terrorist organization, appearing as NGO officials, were once again allowed on the premises of the European Parliament.

This is especially egregious given that Germany—an EU member state—took action against Mr. Barakat earlier this month, banning him from speaking in political engagements.19

Terrorist organizations, such as PFLP, use Civil Society Organizations as vehicles to legitimize incitement and violent attacks against civilians. As shown in our research, these groups propagate historical distortions and omissions that prevent peace, and manipulate the terminology of human rights and international law in order to justify violence against civilians by using terms like “popular resistance” and “popular struggle.” The messages propagated by these organizations resonate in a global context of rising populism that rewards extremism, fear-mongering and incitement.

We hope that as the President of the European Parliament, you will examine the details surrounding this event, and investigate whether the funds used to arrange it violate EU regulations (including relevant counter-terror measures such as Council Regulation 2580/2001). We also stress the importance of amending the Council’s list of banned entities in order to prevent terror activists and organizations from entering and speaking at the European Parliament.


Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg                                                      Olga Deutsch
President                                                                                 Vice President