NGO Monitor's response to accusations and comments made by Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Halbe Zijlstra
On November 15, 2017, Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Halbe Zijlstra mentioned NGO Monitor and our work during a public debate held in the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament (Tweede Kamer).
Mr. Halbe Zijlstra
Minister of Foreign Affairs
The Hague, the Netherlands
December 13, 2017
Dear Mr. Zijlstra
It has come to our attention that you mentioned NGO Monitor and our work during a public debate held in the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament (Tweede Kamer) on November 15, 2017.1 In your address, you made some serious accusations and questioned the integrity of our research. We wish to address these allegations.
NGO Monitor is an independent research institute that provides information and analysis, and supports discussion on the reports and activities of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict. All information in our reports is based on publically available sources and is presented with citations.
Given that we have no access to classified intelligence information on terror related activities, we can only provide publically available facts on reported ties between Dutch funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated terrorist organization in the EU2 and Israel.3 These are mainly based on court rulings or on original PFLP sources. Do you consider these credible sources, and if not can you explain why?
Given the seriousness of the allegations, we urge all relevant governments that support the organizations in question to conduct independent investigations in order to make sure no public funds are mistakenly allocated to terror related activities. We welcomed4 such investigation run by the Dutch government on WATC, which ended in the government defunding the organization.
We also question whether such organizations should be considered suitable partners for human rights projects.
As our research shows, the concern regarding Dutch funded NGOs with ties to terror was not directly addressed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and it was ignored by the IOB’s “Evaluation of Dutch Development Cooperation in the Palestinian Territories 2008-2014.”5
Examples of such organizations include the Palestinian NGO Addameer, which Fatah describes as an official PFLP “affiliate.”6 For instance, Khalida Jarrar7 is a senior PFLP official and until October 2017 served as Addameer’s vice-chairperson.8
Additionally, numerous board members of the NGO Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P)9 have reported ties to the PFLP. For example, Mahmoud Jiddah is reportedly a “PFLP member10 ” and Hassan Abed Aljawad11 is described as a Bethlehem-based “PFLP activist” or “leader.12 ” Additionally, Hashem Abu Maria, a DCI-P employee,13 was hailed14 by the PFLP as a “commander” after his death in 2014.
Rather than making false accusations against NGO Monitor and dismissing the possibility of Dutch funding to terror affiliated groups, we urge you to reconsider and undertake a thorough investigation, together with relevant security services, of the suspected terror ties to Dutch funded NGOs.
We look forward to your response.
Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg Shaun Sacks
President Europe Desk
CC: Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation
H.E. Gilles Beschoor Plug, Dutch Ambassador to Israel