Bisan Research & Development Center
|In their own words||“In Bisan we continuously seek to enhance Palestinian’s resilience and to contribute in building an effective democratic civil society.”|
- Bisan Research & Development Center does not publish financial data, donor information, or sources of funding, reflecting a complete lack of transparency and accountability.
- Independent research shows that Bisan’s donors have included the European Union, Belgium, and Spain.
- In 2017-2019, the European Commission granted €699,236 to Bisan for a project titled “strengthening community resilience and social cohesion in East Jerusalem on both sides of the separation wall.” The project included five Palestinian NGOs recipients, including Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC), and the Land Research Center.
- Several past and current DCI-P board members and employees 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. DCI-P leads the campaign exploiting children to promote demonization of Israel. Many of its allegations are false and part of attempts to smear Israel with allegations of “war crimes” and promote BDS.
- Several past and current UPWC employees have apparent ties to the PFLP. UPWC is also active in supporting BDS campaigns and utilizing inflammatory rhetoric.
- In 2017-2021, Belgium (Directorate-General for Development Cooperation; DGD) provided the Belgian NGO Viva Salud (formerly Médecine pour le Tiers Monde/ Geneeskunde voor de Derde Wereld) with€1.15 million for two projects. Bisan Research & Development Center, which is an implementing partner of these projects, was earmarked €337,892.
- In 2014-2018, Spain granted €640,610 for “strengthening community resistance and Palestinian social cohesion in east Jerusalem” as part of the Kanan project, which is dedicated to strengthening “the social and political participation channels of the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem through enhancing the capacity of the youth.” The project is implemented by six NGOs, including, Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC), Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), and Alternative Information Center-Palestine.
- In July 2020, Bisan vehemently opposed a new requirement in European Union grant contracts with Palestinian NGOsthat prohibits grantees from working with and funding organizations and individuals designated on the EU’s terror lists. In an interview with Al-Jazeera, a representative of Bisan stated, “Palestinian civil society is donor-dependent. Bisan used to get its funding primarily from EU governments, but we withdrew our project concept notes for this year after they [European Union] included the ATC [anti-terror clause] in their contracts.”
- In November 2022, Bisan was a signatory on a letter to the ICC Prosecutor to “Urgently expedite his investigation into the Situation of Palestine, including the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.”
- In September 2022, Bisan was a signatory on a letter to the European Union to “review its decision to revive the Association Council Meeting, stop the recently signed gas deal and review its bilateral cooperation programmes.” According to the call, “Instead of allowing Israel to entrench its colonial enterprise and apartheid regime, rewarding it with further economic cooperation and trade of harmful military equipment and technologies, the EU and its Member States have an obligation, and interest, to hold Israel accountable and put an end to impunity.”
- In September 2022, Bisan was a signatory on a joint statement urging the US government to condemn the decision by the Israeli Ministry to designate six Palestinian NGOs, including Bisan, as terrorist organizations. According to the letter, “Our organizations do vital human rights and humanitarian work that is necessary due to Israel’s decades-long belligerent occupation of Palestinian land that is actively and robustly supported by your administration.” The letter also called for the US to “End complicity and financial and diplomatic support to the Israeli apartheid regime.”
- In August 2022, following criticism against the UN Commission of Inquiry’s use of antisemitic rhetoric, Bisan signed a joint statement “extend[ing] their full support and pledg[ing] their ongoing cooperation with the UN Commission of Inquiry on Palestine.” The statement affirmed that “the present Commission is a crucial step toward the recognition and remedy of Israel’s settler-colonial and apartheid regime as the root cause of Israel’s perpetual violations of international law in Palestine.”
- In July 2022, Commissioner Miloon Kothari made antisemitic comments on a podcast, claiming that the “Jewish lobby” controls social media and questioned whether Israel should have UN membership. In a letter to UNHRC President Federico Villegas, Commissioner Navi Pillay refused to condemn Kothari’s remarks, stating his comments “have deliberately been taken out of context…[and] deliberately misquoted.” Dozens of countries, UN Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed, and HRC President Federico Villegas condemned these remarks.
- In May 2022, Bisan was a signatory on a petition titled “The Return Appeal” calling on the United Nations to “take all necessary steps and measures for immediately holding the occupation’s state accountable for all the crimes, the latter has so far committed against the Palestinian people, within strict legal means that would not allow the occupation’s criminals to evade interrogation or possible trials.”
- In February 2022, Bisan participated in an EU-funded conference titled ”Shrinking Civic Space for Palestinian Civil Society Organizations: Local and International Policies.” The conference included a workshop “focused on the strategies and mechanisms needed to combat counter-terrorism policies, regulations, and policies (sic)” (emphasis added).
Bisan Ties to the PFLP
Staff Ties to the PFLP
- Ubai Aboudi, Bisan’s Executive Director, was arrested by the Israeli authorities on November 13, 2019. In June 2020, Aboudi was sentenced to 12-months in prison. According to his conviction, Aboudi “was convicted of being a member and an activist of the Popular Front organization during the period starting from 2016 and ending in July 2019.” Specifically, Aboudi “was responsible for recruiting additional activists to the organization from young people and students, as well as strengthening the organization’s infrastructure in the area” (on file with NGO Monitor).
- Itiraf Hajaj (Rimawi) served as Bisan’s Executive Director. Rimawi was arrested on September 23, 2019, and an Israeli authorities’ statement refers to him as responsible for PFLP clandestine operations. Additionally, according to the PFLP-linked organization Samidoun, in 1995-2017, Rimawi was arrested several times. A 2016 High Court of Justice decision [HCJ-2524/16] referred to Rimawi as a “PFLP member” who “posed a security threat” (on file with NGO Monitor).
- According to Palestinian media, Rimawi was sentenced to three and a half year of prison in December 2020.
- In May 2019, Bisan Senior Researcher Gebril Muhamad attended a memorial event organized by the PFLP. It centered on PFLP political bureau member Rabah Muhanna, who, according to information posted by the PFLP, “contributed to the establishment” of several PFLP-affiliated NGOs. The hall was decorated with PFLP paraphernalia.
Government Funding to Bisan
|European Union||European Neighborhood Instrument (ENI)||€699,236||2017-2019||Implemented by 5 Palestinian NGO partners
|Spain||Basque Agency for Development Cooperation (AVCD)||€800,764||2015-2018||Via Mundubat; Implemented by 5 Palestinian NGO partners as part of the Kanan project
|Italy||MFA||€1.6 million||2014-2017||Via CISS - Cooperazione Internazionale Sud Sud; Implemented by 4 Palestinian NGO
|Belgium||Directorate-General for Development Cooperation (DGD)||€337,892||2017-2021||Via Viva Salud
|€1.2 million||2014-2016||Via Solidarité Socialiste; Implemented by 3 Palestinian NGO
On October 22, 2021, the Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) designated 6 Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations. According to the MoD, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Al-Haq, Addameer, Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC), and Bisan were included on Israel’s list of terrorist organizations because they are operated by and for the benefit of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
NGO Monitor has identified a network of 13 NGOs linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror organization and funded by European, and in some cases, other governmental frameworks.
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