Al-Dameer is highly active in promoting BDS campaigns, lobbying international bodies, and utilizing highly inflammatory rhetoric. Al-Dameer is a leader of campaigns in support of Palestinians prisoners convicted of security offenses, referring to them as “martyrs” and altogether omitting the context of violence and terror.
Several Al-Dameer employees and board members have apparent ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel. For more information on Al-Dameer’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Al-Dameer’s Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”
|In their own words||"concerned with presenting legal services to detainees inside Israeli jails, along with its activities in defending the victims of violations, whoever perpetrates them" and "works on raising the societal awareness in the field of democracy and human rights through working with different sectors of the local society."|
- Al-Dameer does not release financial information, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.
- Independent research shows that Al-Dameer receives funding from the European Union, Switzerland, National Endowment for Democracy (United States), and the UNDP “Joint Program /Sawasya.” Al-Dameer also received funding from Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (a joint funding mechanism of Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, and the Netherlands that closed in 2017). (See table below for further funding information.)
- Al-Dameer and PNGO are co-grantees of a €446,482 European Union grant (2016-2019) titled “Contributing to the respect, protection and promotion of the right to association in the Gaza Strip.”
- In 2019, Al-Dameer received $30,000 from the National Endowment for Democracy (United States) to “promote a rights-based culture of youth leadership in the Gaza Strip. The organization will lead seven two-day workshops on human rights.”
- In 2017-2019, Al-Dameer received CHF 77,221 from Switzerland to “provide information and reports to the International Criminal Court on human rights violations committed by the IOF [Israeli Occupation Forces].” (See more on Al-Dameer’s activities in the ICC below.)
- According to information released by the Secretariat, Al-Dameer received a core funding grant of $366,700 (2014-2017) and an undisclosed sum in “emergency funding.”
- Al-Dameer engages in anti-Israel demonization while referring to terrorists as “martyrs” and speaking of a Palestinian “right to resist.”
- In January 2020, Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), of which Al-Dameer is a member, refused to sign a European Union grant request that requires recipients to refuse to “transfer any E.U. assistance given to terrorist groups or entities.”
Ties to the PFLP
- Numerous Al-Dameer staff members and board members have ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel. For more information on Al-Dameer’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Al-Dameer’s Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”
- On December 22, 2019, Al-Dameer, PNGO, and the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) organized a conference on “international accountability mechanisms,” featuring a speech by PFLP Prisoners Committee official ‘Alam Ka’abi. Ka’abi was sentenced to nine life sentences in 2004 for his role in recruiting and sending terrorists to a number of attacks in the early 2000s, resulting in the deaths of several Israeli citizens and injuring dozens.
- In November 2018, “Al-Dameer association, in coordination with the prisoners’ committee of the PFLP, organized a seminar on administrative detention and the continuation of the arrest of Khalida Jarrar,” a PFLP leader (on file with NGO Monitor, see PFLP website for details).
- Al-Dameer lawyer Mohammed S. Al Bardaweel and numerous PFLP officials, including “a member of the General Central Committee of the Front, the head of the prisoners committee in Gaza” Allam Kaabi and members of the PFLP Central Committee Mariam Abu Daqqa and Kayed al-Ghoul were present at the seminar. The PFLP’s “information office” uploaded a short film of the joint event to YouTube.
- In May 2017, multiple Al-Dameer staff participated in a “march organized by the Popular Front for the Liberation to support the prisoners and against Trump’s visit to the Palestinian territories.” Photos from the event show Al-Dameer staff – including Fathi al-Helou, Mohammad Al Jaish, and Yousef Balousha – waving a PFLP flag. (See further information on them below.)
Al-Dameer Staff with Ties to the PFLP
- Younis Aljaro, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Al-Dameer, was a leader in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). According to Ma’an News Agency, Aljaro resigned from the PFLP leadership in 2013.
- Al-Jarro is described as a “former leader in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine” in his bio for a 2017 conference commemorating the violent Palestinian uprising of 1987-1993.
- In January 2014, Aljaro spoke at a PFLP event honoring several members of the PFLP Central Committee on their retirement.
- Galal Ismail Shabat, Al-Dameer’s Vice Chairman, spoke at a December 2016 ceremony at Al-Quds Open University in Gaza commemorating the founding of the terror group. During his speech on behalf of the University, Shabat “congratulated the comrades of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) for the launching anniversary, praising the national efforts and the great sacrifices made by the Popular Front for the Protection of the Palestinian National Project.”
- Yahya Yousef al-Ghulban, an Al-Dameer Board Member, is a “retired Palestinian activist and former prisoner.”
- Yousef Balousha, a lawyer for Al-Dameer, gave a speech during the 2018 closing ceremony of a PFLP children’s summer camp. During his speech, Balousha focused on how “this highlights our interest in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the cultural aspects of our sons and daughters, because the responsibility for their education is upon us. We know that without an education, we will never achieve anything. Its purpose is to implant a national identity and the Palestinian struggle in the souls of our children.” He also praised PFLP leaders, including Secretary-General Ahmad Saafat, George Habash, Wadea Haddad, Abu Ali Mustafa, Ghassan Kanafani, Abu Maher Al Yamani, and “all the martyrs of the Palestinian revolution.”
- Mohammed S. Al-Bardaweel, a lawyer for Al-Dameer, represented Al-Dameer at a 2015 meeting in which “at the request of the PFLP, the National Committee for the Protection of the Rights of Administrative Detainees decided on a series of moves to raise the problem of administrative detainees.”
- Al-Bardaweel also attended a November 2018 seminar organized by “Al-Dameer association, in coordination with the prisoners’ committee of the PFLP” on the “administrative detention and the continuation of the arrest of Khalida Jarrar” leader (on file with NGO Monitor, see PFLP website for details).
- Fathi al-Helou, a lawyer for Al-Dameer, participated in a “cultural evening” with PFLP leaders in Beit Lahia.
- Ra’fat Sulaiman Salha, Secretary of Al-Dameer’s Board of Directors, is the chairman of the Palestinian Democratic Association of Lawyers, an organization linked to the PFLP. The PFLP website refers to the Democratic Association of Lawyers as a professional framework associated with the PFLP.
- In December 2020, Al-Dameer issued a press release stating that “The occupation authorities violate the medical and humanitarian rights of prisoners and detainees and deny them vaccination against the Coronavirus.” Al-Dameer altogether ignored that Palestinians residing in Jerusalem are part of the Israeli health care system; that under the Oslo Accords the PA is responsible for health care of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza; and that the PA has adopted its own vaccine policyfor its population.
- In July 2019, after Israel demolished illegally-built houses in Jerusalem, Al-Dameer condemned “Israeli actions and practices, which aim to proceed with the Israeli racist plan to Judaize the city of Jerusalem and obliterate its Arab Islamic identity.” Al-Dameer further called on the International Criminal Court to “open an investigation into the crimes committed by the occupation forces against humanity.”
- On May 18, 2019, as a member of the Palestinian Human Rights Organization Council (PHROC), Al-Dameer was a signatory on a statement referring to all of Jerusalem as “occupied,” and called for the UN to “take a firm stand against…unlawful unilateral measures to be taken by the U.S. in favor of an unveiled attempt at legitimizing Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise, occupation and colonization.” The statement further called to “Ban Israeli settlement products” and “Impose individual sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on individuals that are identified as responsible for or complicit in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
- On May 15, 2018, Al-Dameer published a press release in “commemoration of the Nakba” accusing the “occupation forces” of “using excessive and lethal force” that amount to “war crimes” in response to violence at the Gaza border. The press release ignored the violent nature of the protests, which have consisted of an organized armed attack on the Israeli border and IDF positions, attempts to destroy and breach the border fence, and sustained arson, rocket, and mortar attacks on Israeli civilian communities.
- In October 2018, Al-Dameer accused Israel of “intentionally perpetuat[ing] the policy of killing and intimidating children despite repeated international condemnations,” referring to it as “a new crime added to the Zionist criminal record.”
- On July 2, 2017, Al-Dameer condemned the arrest of Khalida Jarrar, a senior official of the PFLP, claiming that it “comes within the framework of a systematic Israeli policy aimed at undermining the Palestinian political and basic system.”
- In June 2017, Al-Dameer signed a statement, marking the “50th year since the start of Israel’s occupation” calling upon the international community to refrain from “recognizing, cooperating with, or providing any assistance to Israeli occupation policies and practices”; pressure Israel to “end the closure on Gaza, withdraw all Occupying Forces from Palestinian territory,…Tear down the Annexation Wall,…Release Palestinian prisoners”; and recognize “the State of Palestine.”
- On June 6, 2017, Al-Dameer asserted that terrorists have a “right” to receive salaries and “condemn[ed] and deplore[d] the Ramallah government’s decision to cut the salaries of a number of released prisoners in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This policy was implemented unlawfully and arbitrarily in response to the Israeli and American demands to stop paying the salaries of prisoners…”
- As a member of the Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council (PHROC), Al-Dameer referred to the resignation of William Schabas as the head of the UN inquiry into the 2014 Gaza war as a “charade put up by Israel” and “condemn[ed] in the strongest terms Israel’s latest and unfortunately far too common attempt to obstruct the work of the international human rights and justice mechanisms in investigating Israeli violations of international law against the Palestinian population.” In fact, the resignation followed revelations that Schabas had previously done legal work for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) – a clear conflict of interest that would have disqualified him from the beginning if it had been disclosed. Furthermore, Schabas’ record of anti-Israel biases includes repeated calls for prosecuting Israeli officials for alleged “war crimes” at the International Criminal Court.
- Lobbied for the discredited 2009 Goldstone report and signatory to multiple international initiatives in favor of its skewed recommendations.
- Al-Dameer has submitted various documents to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
- On February 6, 2021, following the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber Iruling that the Court has jurisdiction to investigate alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories, Al-Dameer, alongside Al-Haq, Al-Mezan, and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), published a press release stating, “…it is imperative that the Prosecutor include acts of apartheid in the scope of her investigation…The decision confirmed the State of Palestine… as a full and legitimate State Party to the Rome Statute, and the entirety of the oPt as within the scope of territorial jurisdiction for investigation into international crimes…” (emphasis added). The organizations stressed that they will continue their “tireless” cooperation with the ICC, having submitted “six substantial communications and thousands of eyewitness files to the Office of the Prosecutor…”
- In March 2020, alongside Al-Mezan, Al-Haq, and Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Al-Dameer submitted an amicus brief “welcom[ing[ and support[ing] the findings of the Prosecutor that there is a reasonable basis to believe that international crimes have been committed in the occupied Palestinian territory, comprising the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.”
- In December 2017, Al-Dameer, Al Mezan, Al-Haq, and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) submitted a communication calling for the Prosecutor at the ICC to “open an investigation into the serious international crimes committed during the July-August 2014 Israeli military offensive.”
- On September 20, 2017, these NGOs submitted a “substantive communication” to the Prosecutor of the ICC alleging that “high-level Israeli civilian and military officials have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem.”
- On November 22, 2016, delivered a submission to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, “Requesting Investigation and Prosecution of The Illegal Closure of the Gaza Strip.” Shawan Jabarin, Al-Haq director, claimed, “The ICC Prosecutor has a golden opportunity to bring an end to the suffering of the entire Palestinian population.”
- In February 2016, the NGOs “provided evidence of the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity” and concluded that “high-ranking Israeli military and civilian officials committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during Operation Protective Edge.”
- On November 23, 2015, the four NGOs submitted a document to Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), claiming evidence and testimonies of alleged Israeli “war crimes” perpetrated during the 2014 Gaza war.
- In July 2020, in response to the “Report of the Special Rapporteur addressing Israel’s Collective Punishment Policy,” Al-Dameer called on “Third States to adopt effective measures to put an end to Israel’s illegal and inhumane policies of collective punishment, including sanctions and countermeasures, to bring the illegal situation to an end” (emphasis added).
- In May 2020, Al-Dameer was a signatory on a statement calling for “Immediate targeted sanctions to stop Israel’s annexation and apartheid.” The statement further called for “A ban on arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel,” “Suspension of trade and cooperation agreements with Israel,” and “Investigation and prosecution of individuals and corporate actors responsible for war crimes/crimes against humanity in the context of Israel’s regime of illegal occupation and apartheid.”
- In 2018-2019, Al-Dameer lobbied intensively in support of the discriminatory UN database of businesses operating across the 1949 Armistice line, aimed at bolstering BDS campaigns against Israel. Al-Dameer has signed multiple letters to the UN calling for the database to be implemented without further delay.
- In November 2019, as a member of PNGO and PHROC, Al-Dameer signed a statement calling for the “international community to immediately impose sanctions on the State of Israel and illegal Israeli settlements” and “implement domestic legislation to prohibit and criminalize the import of illegal settlement goods and services into their territory.”
- In May 2019, Al-Dameer was a signatory on a statement calling on the German Bundestag to revoke a joint resolution defining BDS campaigns against Israel as antisemitic.
- According to Al-Dameer, the German Parliament is “complicit with the occupation by violating the rights of the people and violating international law, and urges the occupying power to continue to commit its crimes and to practice further racial oppression against the Palestinian people.”
- In February 2019, Al-Dameer was a signatory on a letter to the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund calling to refrain from investing money in “Israel’s unlawful settlement enterprise.” According to the letter, “corporations may be complicit in aiding and abetting the destruction of property and forcible displacement of the Palestinian population, amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
- In May 2018, following the United States relocation of its embassy to Jerusalem, Al-Dameer, as a member of PHROC, signed a call to states to “take immediate and practical measures, including by halting their aid and support to Israel, and imposing sanctions until Israel ends its annexation and unlawful prolonged occupation of the Palestinian territory.”
- In February 2016, Al-Dameer signed a pro-BDS statement that hails BDS as “an important nonviolent counter-narrative and alternative for achieving the enjoyment and exercise of freedom, dignity, and justice.”
- In 2014, Al-Dameer signed a petition calling on the Gates Foundation to divest from the G4S security firm, over its operations in Israel as it is “legitimising and profiting from Israel’s use of torture and mass incarceration.” It supported a similar BDS declaration in 2012.
- In 2011, then General Director Khalil Abu Shammala signed a petition calling for the Dutch government to divest from Veolia and to block it from being awarded tenders for public projects. The call came as a result of Veolia’s involvement in constructing Jerusalem’s light-rail. In 2013, a French court ruled that this construction was legal under international law.
- Al-Dameer is a signatory to the 2005 Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS.
- Member of Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), which refused to sign the anti-terror clause that is a condition of US government funding, stating “that its members would not sign funding agreements that included the ATC [Anti-Terror Certificate]: this is now a condition for membership under PNGO byelaws [sic]” (emphasis added).
- In January 2020, PNGO refused to sign a European Union grant request that requires recipients to refuse to “transfer any E.U. assistance given to terrorist groups or entities.”
- In April 2017, PNGO called on the international community not to “use aid to undermine legitimate Palestinian resistance.” According to PNGO, “We reject all de-legitimization or criminalization of lawful Palestinian resistance, whether in form of allegations of terrorism, anti-semitism or otherwise… We call on all governments and aid providers to respect our right to lawful resistance, support Palestinian human rights defenders, and ensure equal, impartial and transparent access to funding for all.”
- In March 2016, as a member of Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), PNGO stated that “Israel’s current government, its most racist ever, has dropped all pretences of ‘enlightenment’ and ‘democracy’. This has helped to expose Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid to world public opinion like never before.”
- Member of Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC).
- On November 16, 2017, PHROC released a statement “in solidarity” with the Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC) following the decision of the Secretariat (joint funding from Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands) to pull funding from WATC due to its naming of a youth center after Dalal Mughrabi, a terrorist who in 1978 murdered 37 civilians, including 12 children.
- In February 2016, PHROC issued a statement that “For decades, Israel has failed to uphold its duties as Occupying Power and has instead deepened its occupation and regime of colonialism and apartheid” and “affirm[ed] the right of all individuals to participate in and advocate for boycott, divestment, and sanction actions, and calls on states and businesses to uphold their related legal responsibilities” and stated that the EU November 2015 labeling move against Israeli settlement products is “insufficient,” calling for a complete ban (emphasis added).
- In November 2016, PHROC sent a submission to Michael Lynk, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in the Palestinian Territories, on “Human Rights Defenders in the OPT…highlight[ing] the repressive environment within which human rights defenders (HRDs) work in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” The submission referred to Manal Tamimi as a “human rights defender,” however Tamimi frequently utilizes antisemitic and violent rhetoric and imagery on social media.
- In August 2015, Tamimi tweeted, “I do hate Israel, i (sic) wish a thrid Intefada (sic) coming soon and people rais (sic) up and kills all these zionist settlers everywhere.”
2014-2019 Funding to Al-Dameer
|National Endowment for Democracy||$30,000||2018|