NGO Monitor Letter to the President of the European Commission Regarding the "International Conference on Jerusalem"
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Dear Ms. von der Leyen,
We write to you with concern over the scheduled participation of the Head of the EU Delegation to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Sven Kühn von Burgsdoff, in an event co-organized by Al-Haq, one of the six Palestinian NGOs designated in October 2021 as a “terror organization” by the Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD).
On May 24, 2022, Al-Quds University, Al-Haq, Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (CCPRJ), and Adalah will host an “international conference on Jerusalem,” under the headline, “The Spark Towards Liberation-Contextualization of Israeli Human Rights Violations and the Political, Social, Economic, Cultural, and Geo-Demographic Domination of Jerusalem.” Mr. Kühn Von Burgsdoff is scheduled to address the “Obligations of the International Community and the Ongoing Impunity.”
According to the MoD, Al-Haq is part of “a network of organizations” that operates “on behalf of the ‘Popular Front [for the Liberation of Palestine],’” an EU designated terror organization. The MoD accused the NGOs with diverting humanitarian funds from European donors to the PFLP and recruiting members for the terror group.
The presence of Mr. Kühn von Burgsdoff is even more disturbing given that the EU, in May 2021 had already suspended its funding to Al-Haq in light of Israeli allegations into the NGO’s links to the PFLP. This suspension, which was revealed in a December 2021 parliamentary question and confirmed by Al-Haq itself, reflects EU anti-terror directives that exclude terror-affiliated groups from EU funding.
Unfortunately, it is not the first time that Mr. Kühn von Burgsdoff has backed terror-linked Palestinian NGOs. On December 8, 2021, he met with representatives of the six designated Palestinian NGOs, conveying that the “EU will continue to stand by international law and support civil society organizations that have a role to play in promoting international law, human rights, and democratic values.” Previously, on March 30, 2020, Mr. Kühn von Burgsdoff sent a “clarification letter regarding the EU-funded contracts” to a network of Palestinian NGOs, reassuring them that their funding would not be at risk from new requirements that emphasized a prohibition on working with those on “the lists of EU restrictive measures” – despite the close links between those NGOs and various EU-designated terror entities.
Mr. Kühn von Burgsdoff’s consistent attempts to undermine European and Israeli anti-terror regulations are a discredit to the EU. We urge the European Commission to cancel his participation in the coming event.
Furthermore, and for the sake of transparency and accountability, we also urge you to make public the results of the OLAF investigation – as stipulated in the 2020 discharge adopted on May 4, 2022.
Professor Gerald Steinberg Olga-Deutsch
NGO Monitor President NGO Monitor Vice-President