Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS)
|In their own words||“The members of France - Palestine Solidarity Association are attached to the right of peoples to self-determination and to the defense of the individual. Their purpose is to develop solidarity with the Palestinian people and to support them particularly in their fight for the fulfilment of their national rights.”|
- Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) does not publish financial information, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.1
- AFPS receives government funding from the French government through different governmental bodies.
- In 2016-2019, AFD provided AFPS with €320,000 for agricultural projects with Ma’an Development Center.
- In May 2019, MA’AN Director General Sami Khader attended a memorial event organized by the PFLP that centered on PFLP political bureau member Rabah Muhanna. The hall was decorated with PFLP paraphernalia.
- In May 2018, Ma’an Development Center employee Ahmad Abdallah Aladini was killed in the violence on the Gaza border. Aladini was a “comrade” of the PFLP terror group.
- The AFPS states that its objective is to change French policy so that France will apply pressure and sanctions against the Israel.
- AFPS advocates for the removal of the terror groups Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) from the European list of terrorist organizations.
- AFPS legitimizes the use of armed struggle as a means for Palestinian liberation and states that Israel “deploys a state terrorism in the name of preventive war.” In 2017, AFPS further clarified that “support of popular resistance includes attacks against soldiers of the occupation…”
Funding to Politicized NGOs
- Every year, AFPS raises money under the banner of “SOS Palestine.” The organization claims that “without occupation, there would be no problem of poverty or shortage in Palestine.” Funds are transferred to politicized NGOs, some of which have alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group.
- In 2020, AFPS provided grants worth €77,000: Recipients included Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC) (€30,000), Union of Agricultural Works Committee (UAWC) (€10,000), Palestinian Medical Relief Society(PMRS) (€30,000), and the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC) (€7,000). Both UHWC and UAWC have ties to the PFLP terrorist organization.
- In 2018, AFPS granted €30,000 to UHWC and €15,000 to PMRS.
- In 2016, under this framework, AFPS transferred €100,000: Recipients include Health Work Committees(HWC) (€15,000), which has ties to PFLP terrorist group; and the Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA) (€15,000) and the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) (€15,000), both of which promote BDS campaigns against Israel.
- In 2014, AFPS transferred €150,000: Recipients included the Union of Agricultural Work Committees(UAWC) and HWC, two organizations with ties to the PFLP terrorist group; and PMRS, CFTA, and the Ma’an Development Center. Funding amounts are not given.
- In cooperation with French regional governments and Palestinian partners, AFPS funds many projectson issues including water, education, agriculture, health, culture, and social. According to the organization, the objective of its projects in the West Bank and Gaza “is always political.” (emphasis added) AFPS further states that “enabling Palestinians to stay on their occupied land, supporting families in the camps, is supporting their resistance.”
- In 2015-2016, AFPS funded an olive tree planting project(€20,000) for the benefit of inhabitants of the Wadi Fukin village. In reality, the project had political goals and was described as “struggling against the expansion of Tsur Hadassah settlement on the land of the village.” Tsur Hadassah is a city located within the international recognized borders of the State of Israel. AFPS partnered with Stop the Wall Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (PGAAWC), Sunflower for the Human and Environment Protection (member of Grassroots Jerusalem), Arab Center for Agricultural Development (ACAD), and Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC) on the project. Representatives of the Consulate General of France in Jerusalem attended the official commencement of the project.
- Uses Holocaust rhetoric, referring to the Gaza Strip as an “Extermination Camp” due to the “criminal Israeli government – and all those who support it…the small ‘angels of death’ who are sheltered there to continue their experiments and envision the ‘final solution.’”
- Accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing and apartheid. In a leaflet addressed to the former French Minister of Foreign Affairs “Stop hunting Palestinian children!,” AFPS accuses the Israeli army of “kidnapping” Palestinian children in order to use them “as human shield.”
- AFPS refers to the security barrier as the “apartheid” wall.
- According to AFPS, Israeli policies “institutionalize a military and colonial domination over the Palestinian people in order to exploit them and make them disappear as a people, by decomposing it, transferring its population and/or forcing it to exile. This matches the notion of ‘sociocide.’”
- In April 2022, AFPS issued a press release entitled “Stop provocations and Israeli colonial violence!” According to AFPS, the media and international political leaders “refuse to recognize the responsibility of the Israeli apartheid regime and what must be called the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population of Jerusalem.”
- In February 2022, AFPS published a statement welcoming a report published by Amnesty International accusing Israel of apartheid. AFPS stated that it “will continue to put all its strength into this fight against Israeli apartheid alongside its Palestinian, international, European and French partners, a fight for equal rights for Palestinian men and women,” and called on France to “recognize that Israel exercises a regime of apartheid against the Palestinian people and make a concrete commitment within UN bodies to put an end to this crime against humanity.”
- In October 2021, AFPS condemned the decision by the Israeli Ministry to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations. According to AFPS, “these Palestinian organizations are doing extraordinary work in an environment made particularly difficult by the exactions of the Israeli occupation forces…As a first step, we ask France to immediately recall its ambassador to Israel. We ask Europe to do the same and to suspend Israel’s participation in any European program.”
- In March 2021, AFPS launched a petition titled “Covid-19 in Israel and Palestine: no to health apartheid.” According to the petition, “We do not accept this situation of health apartheid, just as we reject the policy of colonization, occupation, blockade and apartheid that Israel is inflicting on the Palestinian people.”
- In November 2020, in response to Salah Hamouri’s residency permit being revoked by Israel, AFPS launched a campaign to “Stop the Ethnic Cleansing of Jerusalem,” stating that “France must play its full part in bringing an end to the occupation of East Jerusalem and to the ethnic cleansing of which the Palestinians in Jerusalem are victims and particularly our compatriot Salah Hamouri.”
- Hamouri was arrested and convicted in 2005 for “attempting to assassinate Ovadia Yosef…and for his involvement with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” The PFLP has referred to Hamouri as a “comrade.”
- In November 2020, AFPS endorsed “A World Without Walls,” a campaign started in 2017 that has drawn comparisons between “Israel’s apartheid wall on Palestinian land to the US wall of Shame on indigenous land at the border with Mexico.”
- In October 2020, AFPS wrote a letter to the French Prime Minister calling to release Georges Ibrahim Abdallah from prison. Abdallah was convicted and sentenced by a French court to life in prison for “complicity in the assassinations” of Charles R. Ray in 1982, a US military attaché serving in Paris, and Yacov Bar-Simantov, a second counsellor at the Israeli embassy in Paris.
- In July 2020, AFPS wrote an article titled “Butchering Palestine: Stop Israel!” accusing Israel of “displacing and isolating the Palestinian population in Bantustans.” AFPS further called for “all cooperation with Israeli institutions that support or contribute to apartheid, occupation or colonization to be stopped,” as well as for “citizens to boycott all Israeli products.”
- In November 2019, AFPS signed a letter to Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda, calling to open “an official, full-scale investigation into the ‘situation in Palestine’” and the “possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed” as the “absence of an official investigation…has fuelled the already existing culture of impunity.”
- In November 2019. AFPS held a conference on “how the appropriation of water, the theft of water, is a “weapon” of colonization and ethnic cleansing.”
- On June 11, 2018, Taoufiq Tahani, president of AFPS, participated in the inauguration of “Nakba Alley,” a street in Bezons, France named “In memory of the expulsion of 800,000 Palestinians and the destruction of 532 villages in 1948 by the war criminal David Ben Gurion for the creation of the State of Israel.” Following criticism from Jewish groups in France, the State Representative of Val-d’Oise asked for “the immediate removal of the plaque” explaining that it “provokes controversies in local discourse that could evolve rapidly towards serious public disorder.”
- In 2016, Taoufiq Tahani participated in the 7th Fatah Congress aimed at “develop[ing] a political agenda and a ‘work plan for the resistance to the Israeli occupation’.”
- Active in BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel, despite the fact that anti-Israel boycotts are prohibited in France. AFPS’ organizational report calls for the boycott of all Israeli products and institutions (sports, academic, and cultural).
- AFPS further calls for the end of financial ties between French banks and insurance companies with Israeli banks and enterprises, accusing them of being “actors of colonization.”
- Advocates for the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement.
- Promotes the academic boycott against Israel.
- In February 2022, AFPS participated in a campaign titled “#StopTradeWithSettlements” calling “for an EU law that will end trade with illegal settlements once and for all.”
- In December 2021, AFPS accused Israel of “allow[ing] soldiers to shoot Palestinian children in the back.” According to AFPS, “Enough is enough ! We say today, with force: the United States, the European Union and France must stop the arm of the executioners, on pain of their cowardice turning into proven complicity…All means of pressure, including sanctions, must be mobilized to meet this requirement.”
- In July 2021, AFPS was a signatory on a press release titled “Palestine: ethnic cleansing continues, resistance too!” which called for a “Suspension of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Israel” and an “Embargo on arms trade and security agreements with Israel.”
- In September 2020, AFPS called for the UN General Assembly to “Launch international investigations into Israel’s apartheid regime over the Palestinian people as a whole, as well as associated State and individual criminal responsibility,” to “Ban arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel,” and “Prohibit all trade with illegal Israeli settlements and ensure that companies refrain from and terminate business activities with Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.”
- In August 2020, AFPS “mobilized” against Israeli participation in the Tour de France by launching a campaign titled “#IsraelHoldUpNation.” According to the campaign, “When we know the reality of the crimes committed by this state against the Palestinian people since its creation, crimes that it continues to perpetrate today, we cannot be fooled: the objective is to camouflage these crimes behind an image of openness.”
- In January 2020, as part of a broader BDS campaign, the AFPS participated in a campaign against Puma.
- In October 2019, AFPS launched a campaign against “complicit tourism agencies” such as Airbnb and TripAdvisor, demanding “ethical tourism” and to “remove accommodation in Israeli settlements.”
- On June 13, 2018, along with the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine (PFP), International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), Al-Haq, and Ligue des droits de l’Hommes (LdH), AFPS published a report, “The Jerusalem light-rail and how French companies contribute to the settlement of Occupied Palestinian Territory,” which targeted the French companies Systra, Egis, and Alstom that are involved in construction of the Jerusalem light-rail. The report calls for the companies to “terminate their contracts with the Israeli authorities” and urged the French State “to take all the measures needed to ensure that the three public operators, SNCF, RATP and CDC, terminate the contracts signed in the context of the implementation of the Jerusalem tramway, by the companies they control, SYSTRA and Egis; and to take all the measure needed to prevent any participation or investment by French companies that would contribute to Israeli settlement.”
- In March 2017, along with groups including International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), Al-Haq, CCFD- Terre Solidaire, and the French League of Human Rights (LDH) published a document ‘The dangerous ties between French banks and insurances companies with the Israeli occupation‘, which recommends that the French government pressure French financial institutions to “disengage without delay from any financial link with the Israeli banking system,” and create “a legislative proposal prohibiting enterprises from all sectors to invest in the settlements.” The report only points to very minor and indirect connections, if at all, to settlements, and French courts have repeatedly found that such business activity is not illegal.The report was funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
- In 2015, these same NGOs published “Orange’s Dangerous Liaisons in the Occupies Palestinian Territory,” targeting the French corporation Orange Group and “the French State as Orange’s principal majority shareholder.” Efforts to pressure Orange included attending the Orange annual shareholders meeting and lobbying of the French government.
- In February 2017, along with members of the European Parliament (EP), lobbied the EP President to cancel a session of Delegation for Relations with Israel where Sydney Knafou, CEO of Casimex, was scheduled to testify on European labeling guidelines. AFPS accused the company of violating French and European law. Despite AFPS’ lobbying efforts, the event went as scheduled and Knafou testified (02:35) that as a result of BDS efforts at the EU, “For several years now, but, crucially, in the last few months, my business has been disrupted by unhelpful statements made at the EU level which are politically motivated and unrelated to any legitimate European business concern,” He further noted, “There is no justification for penalizing EU businesses on the basis of foreign policy objectives. None…this disrupts trade in a manner that is incompatible with international trade law, without a proper legal basis under EU law, and in a manner that is completely disproportionate in light of the objectives of the European Union.”
- In 2007, AFPS and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) filed a petition with the Tribunal of Nanterre against Veolia and Alstom for alleged violation of “public order.” In the petition, the two French companies were accused of violating international law for their involvement in the construction of the Light Rail train. The Tribunal of Nanterre dismissed the case in 2011, and the Versailles Court of Appeals upheld the decision in 2013.
- The court ruled that the AFPS did not have standing to bring suit because it was not “defending a collective interest specific to its membership as distinct from the public interest of Palestinians in general.”
- The court also noted that building the Jerusalem Light Rail was not illegal because occupation law allows for the governance of occupied territory and includes the building of transportation infrastructure. Finally, the court emphasized that the determination of the legality of a contract cannot be contingent on political considerations advanced by a third party.
Controversial statements by staff members
- The honorary and former President of AFPS, Taoufiq Tahani, regularly publishes controversial posts on his Facebook account. For example, he expressed “his respect” to Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) founder Georges Habache and former PFLP general secretary Abu Ali Mustapha, The PFLP is designated as a terrorist organization by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel. Tahani also considers the mastermind of the 2001 Sbarro massacre a “Palestinian resistor” and accuses Israel of using “poisoned gas” against Palestinians. On April 16, 2018, Tahini wrote a post on Facebook describing Khalil al-Wazir as “A GREAT MAN.” Al-Wazir is also known as “Abu Jihad” (Father of Jihad) and was responsible for the 1978 “Coastal Road massacre” – one of the worst terror attacks in Israeli history that was perpetrated by 13 Palestinian terrorists resulting in the deaths of 38 Israeli civilians, including 13 children.
- The President of the French organization the Platform of the French NGOs for Palestine, Claude Léostic, is also an AFPS “national council member.” Léostic often utilizesher Facebook account to spread controversial messages and radical rhetoric (See “The Radical Statements of the President of a French Association.”).
- Cooperates with Palestinian and Israeli civil society organizations including Adalah, Addameer, Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Defense for Children International- Palestine, Al-Haq, Alternative Information Center (AIC), Breaking the Silence, Zochrot, and HaMoked.
- Member of the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine.
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