In June 2015, Israel’s Defense Minister declared that “the group of people or institutions or association known as the ‘Union of Health Work Committees-Jerusalem [HWC]’…or any other name that this association will be known by, including all of its factions and any branch, center, committee or group of this association is an unauthorized association, as defined by the Defense Regulations” (emphasis added).
In January 2020, HWC was designated by Israel as a terrorist organization,
Numerous HWC staff members, founders, board members, general assembly members, and senior staff members have ties to the PFLP terror group. For more information on HWC’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Health Work Committees’ Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”
|In their own words||The Health Work Committees functions in a Rights-Based Approach providing Health Services to all segments of the Palestinian Population, particularly the poor and the marginalized; building development models, and; lobbying and advocating in support of favorable policies and legislations.|
- In 2018, total income was NIS 21.1 million; total expenses were NIS 22.4 million (latest available; accessed February 8, 2023).
- HWC’s 2018 donors and partners include: Austria, European Union, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, NGO Development Center, Diakonia, DanChurchAid, ICCO (Netherlands), Medical Aid for Palestinian (MAP), SODePAZ, MIFTAH, Oxfam, and the United Nations.
- In May 2021, Medical Aid for Palestinians ceased funding to HWC “following the allegations levied by the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs.”
- In 2020, HWC received $305,504 from the UN OCHA occupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund to “Increase Access to Essential Health Services for Marginalized Communities in Hebron.”
- In 2019-2020, the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa provided HWC and Spanish NGO SODePAZ €40,000 for “Health Care for Sick People in Emergency Departments.”
- In 2017-2019, the European Commission granted €699,236 to HWC 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), Land Research Center, and the Bisan Center for Research and Development Association.
- Several past and current Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P) board members and employees have ties to the PFLP. 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 Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel. UPWC is also active in supporting BDS campaigns and utilizing inflammatory rhetoric.
- Bisan Center for Research and Development has reported ties to the PFLP. Izzat Abdulhadi, a former director of Bisan, is reported to be a PFLP member. According to the Palestinian organizations Samidoun – Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and Addameer, Bisan Executive Director Eteraf Rimawi was arrested six times by Israeli forces between 1995 and 2014. Rimawi was reportedly sentenced for 16-months in prison and fined NIS 5,000 in 2000. During his detention in 2008, an Israeli military judge affirmed that “Eteraf was active in political activities related to the PFLP.”
- In 2017-2020, HWC received $3.7 million from Sweden.
- The Health Work Committee (HWC) is a Palestinian health organization that is active in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
- In January 2020, Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), of which HWC is a member, vehemently opposed a new clause in European Union grant contracts with Palestinian NGOs that prohibits grantees from working with and funding organizations and individuals designated on the EU’s terror lists. According to media reports, PNGO claimed that Palestinian terrorist organizations are “political parties.”
HWC Ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
- On June 9, 2015, Israel’s Defense Minister declared that “the group of people or institutions or association known as the ‘Union of Health Work Committees-Jerusalem’…or ‘Health Work Committees’…or any other name that this association will be known by, including all of its factions and any branch, center, committee or group of this association is an unauthorized association, as defined by the Defense Regulations” (emphasis added, p.6489).
- In January 2020, HWC was designated by Israel as a terrorist organization,
- On July 7, 2021, Israel arrested HWC General Director Shatha Odeh for her alleged involvement in terror activity. Following her arrest, the IDF closed HWC’s offices for six months.
- Odeh also serves as the head of the board of the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO). Multiple PNGO officials have ties to terrorist organizations, and at least five PNGO members have ties to EU-designated terror organizations, including through their employees and/or board members who are directly involved in activities and programs.
- In May 2021, Israeli authorities announced that four officials from HWC had been arrested for terror related activities including diverting European aid to the PFLP terror group.
- According to Israeli authorities, the “Popular Front organizations (PFLP-affiliated NGOs) deceived assistance organizations in Europe using various methods – reporting fictitious projects, transferring false documents, forging and inflating invoices, diverting tenders, forging bank documents and signatures, reporting inflated salaries, etc. The considerable financing that was received was transferred – inter alia – to payments for the families of Popular Front ‘martyrs’, salaries for militants, recruiting new members, advancing and strengthening terrorist activity, funding Popular Front militants in Jerusalem and the dissemination of Popular Front messages and ideology” (emphasis added).
- On May 6, 2021, the Israeli authorities announced the pending indictment of three current and one former HWC employees suspected of defrauding European countries of millions of euros by fabricating aid projects in order to channel funds to the PFLP and to support its terror activities.
- The individuals arrested are HWC accountant, Tayseer Abu Sharbak; Said Abdat, who previously worked as an accountant for the HWC; Amro Hamouda, the former head of purchasing for the HWC; and Juanna Sanchez Rishmawi, who was responsible for fundraising for the organization in Europe.
- HWC’s Youth Development Program, “A community, cultural, and social development program that provide services to Jerusalemite youth through ‘Nidal Center,’” was shut down by Israeli authorities from 2009 to 2012 because, in the words of the Jerusalem District Court, it served as “a place of action of the [PFLP] organization.” The Nidal Center also houses HWC’s Kanan project, a program implemented by six political NGOs, five of which have reported ties to the PFLP.1
- In 2016, the Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ-3923/15), stated that “based on credible information, the PFLP carried out activity in the apartment, under the aegis of an organization named the ‘Union of Health Work Committees-Jerusalem,’ which later was also declared a terrorist organization” (emphasis added).
- The relationship between HWC and Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC) is unclear, but the two have been referred to as “sister organization[s].” UHWC is a PFLP affiliated health committee active in Gaza, as identified by USAID and in Palestinian documents.
HWC Staff Ties to the PFLP
- Numerous HWC staff members, founders, board members, general assembly members, and senior staff members have ties to the PFLP terror group. For more information on HWC’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Health Work Committee’s Ties to the PFLP Terrorist Organization.”
- Hanatsheh, HWC’s finance and administration manager, was arrested in October 2019 for participating in a terrorist attack in which a 17-year old was murdered. According to an Israeli media report, Hanatsheh bankrolled the bombing. Following his arrest, the PFLP labeled Hanatsheh a “leader in the Popular Front.”
- Hanatsheh appeared on the PFLP list for the scheduled May 2021 Palestinian Legislative Elections, which were postponed indefinitely.
- Hanatsheh is listed as a board member for the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO).
- PNGO is an umbrella organization comprising 142 Palestinian NGO member organizations, many of which support BDS campaigns and have ties to the PFLP terror group. In January 2020, PNGO vehemently opposed a new clause in European Union grant contracts with Palestinian NGOs that prohibits grantees from working with and funding organizations and individuals designated on the EU’s terror lists. PNGO claimed that Palestinian terrorist organizations are “political parties.”
- Multiple PNGO officials have ties to terrorist organizations, and at least five PNGO members have ties to EU-designated terror organizations, including through their employees and/or board members who are directly involved in activities and programs
- Juanna Sanchez Rishmawi
- In May 2021, the Israel Security Agency announced the arrest of Juanna Sanchez Rishmawi, a fundraiser for HWC since 1993, alongside three other HWC employees. According to the ISA, HWC, which was designated as a terror front in January 2020 due to ties to the PFLP, implemented an elaborate scheme of “reporting fictitious projects, presenting false documents, forgery and inflating invoices and receipts… forging bank documents and bank seals,” and a variety of other methods of embezzlement. This was done in order to provide money for “the families of PFLP ‘martyrs,’ salaries of PFLP members, recruitment of new members, advancing terror activity,” amongst other purposes.
- On November 10, 2021, Rishmawi pled guilty to “carrying out services on behalf of a banned organization,” the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
- According to the indictment against her, Rishmawi raised millions in donations from Spanish governmental and civil society bodies, significant portions of which were then diverted from HWC to the PFLP.
- Daoud Ghoul
- Ghoul previously served as HWC’s “director of youth programs.” Daoud Ghoul also worked in HWC’s Nidal Center (see above) in “managerial positions at the Nidal Center and in the [HWC] association.”
- In 2016, Ghoul was convicted for his membership in the PFLP and was sentenced to 18-months imprisonment.
- According to a Jerusalem District Court verdict [67637-03-16], “at a date prior to 2006, the appellant [Daoud Ghoul] joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine organization, worked in management positions at the Nidal Centre, a place of activity for the organization [PFLP], and in the Union of Health Work Committees-Jerusalem [Health Work Committees]…the framework under which the organization [PFLP] began to operate after the Nidal Centre was closed in 2009. In that capacity, the appellant organized – among other things- trips, extra-curricular activities and summer camps for youth- some of which were named for terrorists that were active in the organization- and organized visits to the families of fallen and incarcerated members of the organization” (emphasis added).
- Ahmad Maslamani
- The late Dr. Ahmad Maslamani, co-founder and director of the HWC, was a “Central Committee member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine” (as stated by the PFLP itself).
- Maslamani “helped to establish the organization of the party [PFLP] in the city of Jerusalem…In addition, he founded a school where prisoners from the Popular Front are studying.”
- According to a 2001 article in Haaretz, Israel security force arrested Maslamani and two other PFLP members. According to the article, Maslamani “helped organizing and recruiting activists to the Popular Front [PFLP]. The two [Maslamani and another PFLP member] were responsible for a long series of terrorist attacks carried out by Popular Front [PFLP] operatives in Jerusalem.”
- In 2002, Maslamani was convicted by an Israeli court “on the basis of his confession of the offense of membership in a terrorist organization.” He served nine months in jail.
- Hassan Abed Al-Jawad
- Al-Jawad, a HWC board member in 2014–2016, has been described by Palestinian media as “a leader of the Popular Front [PFLP] in Bethlehem” and a “comrade.”
- In 2018, spoke at a PFLP event commemorating a PFLP member. According to Al Quds, Al-Jawad spoke “on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in which he said goodbye to the late fighter Farraj.”
- In a 2008 article in Palestinian media, Al-Jawad is referred to as “a leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine” in Bethlehem. In addition, a book published in 2005 titled The Palestinian National Movement refers to Abed al-Jawad as “a PFLP activist in Bethlehem.”
- Al-Jawad also served as a DCI-P board member in 2012 and in 2016-2017. DCI-P similarly has close ties to the PFLP terror group (see NGO Monitor’s report “Defense for Children International – Palestine’s Ties to the PFLP Terrorist Organization”).
- Majed Nassar
- Former Executive Director and Deputy Director, Nassar has alleged ties to the PFLP. According to a 2007 document edited by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Jerusalem, Israel has prevented Dr. Majed Nassar from traveling “since 2001,” a decision upheld by the High Court.
- Nassar is also a former board member of the PFLP linked NGO DCI-P in at least 2007–2009.
- Ismat Shakhshir
- Shakhshir is the former HWC “member of the director committee.”
- Shakhshir ran “for the PLC [Palestinian Legislative Council] seat at the 2006 election representing the PFLP but did not pass.”
- In 2019, Shakhshir participated in a ceremony co-organized by UPWC and the Progressive Student Action Front, “the student organization of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,” in honor of the International Women’s Day. The banner for the ceremony featured logos of UPWC, the Progressive Student Action Front, and the PFLP terrorist and plane hijacker Leila Khaled.
- Shakhshir is a member /official of the PFLP “affiliate” Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC).
- Yousef Habash
- HWC’s “European representative” until at least 2015, Habash also serves as an Addameer board member until at least May 2018, and is apparently the nephew of PFLP founder George Habash.
- Israel prevented Habash from leaving the West Bank in 2011-2012. He is also a member of the BDS National Committee.
- In 2001, an article posted on the Palestinian NGO Miftah’s website, written by the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), includes Habash in a list of “PFLP members (or ex-associates of the PFLP)” arrested by the Palestinian National Authority following the assassination of the Israeli Minister Rehavam Ze’evi.
- In May 2019, HWC General Director Shatha Odeh 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.
- In March 2019, HWC called for the “for the trial of the occupation leaders” for the “targeting” of Sajed Mizher, a 17-year-old “first aid volunteer” killed by the Israeli security forces. The NGOs neglect to mention that Mizher was a “comrade“ of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the U.S., EU, Canada, and Israel. Mizher’s funeral procession featured many individuals wearing military gear, PFLP paraphernalia, and PFLP banners. Mizher’s body was also adorned in PFLP paraphernalia. (For more details, see NGO Monitor’s blog “Palestinian NGO Medic Killed in Bethlehem Clashes Had Ties to PFLP Terror Group.”)
- Has stated that it holds “The United States of American and all the supporter of the Zionist terrorist against the Palestinian nation, accountable for what all is happening and we consider it a partner in the crime,” and refers to Israeli actions as “collective punishment.”
- Has accused Israel of a “policy of gradual, systemic ethnic cleaning against the citizens of Jerusalem,” which is “in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”
- Promotes “Nakba” rhetoric and a Palestinian “right of return.”
- In November 2022, HWC 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 May 2020, on the occasion of the “72nd anniversary of the Nakba,” HWC published an article accusing Israel of “pain and terrorism supported and covered by the most powerful international imperialist empires represented by the United States” (emphasis added).
- In May 2019, to commemorate Nakba Day, HWC released a statement referring to “Zionist gangs in 1948” and accusing them of “murder, displacement, hunger, and exile.”
- In July 2018, Laura Roger, a member of HWC, participated in the Freedom Flotilla that set sail from Italy with the aim of “end[ing] the siege” of Gaza and “demand[ing] an end to our governments’ complicity with Israel’s war crimes and violation of human rights.”
- In May 2018, during the violence on the Gaza border, HWC condemned the “serious violations of human rights by the Israeli occupation forces and the violations of international humanitarian law, including those related to war crimes as a result of the military escalation against unarmed civilians in the besieged Gaza Strip and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” HWC 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 an open letter (titled “Stop the Genocide”) written during the 2014 Gaza war, HWC alleged, “The innocent citizens of the Gaza Strip have been facing terrifying genocide committed against them by the Israeli occupying forces.” The letter called for the “Palestinian Authority to submit lawsuits to international courts and organizations to bring criminal Zionists to trial.”
- Refers to a terror wave that began in October 2015 as “the Jerusalem Uprising ‘Al-Quds’” and called on organizations to “submit lawsuit drafts to the International Criminal Court” against Israel.
- HWC is a signatory to the original 2005 BDS call.
- Active in global BDS campaigns and demonstrations.
- In May 2020, HWC 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, HWC lobbied in support of the discriminatory UN blacklist of businesses supposedly operating across the 1949 Armistice line, aimed at bolstering BDS campaigns against Israel.
- In November 2019, as a member of PNGO, HWC 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, HWC was a signatory on a statement calling on the German Bundestag to revoke its joint resolution defining BDS campaigns against Israel as antisemitic.
- In December 2018, as a member of PNGO, signed a statement calling for a “comprehensive military embargo against the state of Israel.”
- In December 2017, HWC shared PNGO’s call to “revive the International Solidarity Movement with the Palestinian people [and] activate the international boycott of the Israeli occupation state ‘until it complies with the international law’ and exercise pressure on the international community to end the suffering of the Palestinian people.”
- In April 2017, in commemoration of Palestinian Land Day, HWC called to “activat[e] the boycott of various occupation products and escalat[e] and support the international campaigns to boycott the occupation entity.”
- Addressed a letter to Alicia Keys urging her to cancel a concert in Israel in 2013.
- Yousef Habash, HWC’s European representative,” is also a National BDS Committee member.
- Member of the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), which was instrumental in producing many of the preparatory documents for the Durban 2001 conference including the document calling for embargoes on Israel.
- In January 2020, PNGO vehemently opposed a new clause in European Union grant contracts with Palestinian NGOs that prohibits grantees from working with and funding organizations and individuals designated on the EU’s terror lists. According to media reports, PNGO claimed that Palestinian terrorist organizations are “political parties.”
- 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.”
- HWC is a member of the Occupied Palestine and Syrian Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI) of the Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI).
- HWC is a member of the United Nations’ Health and Nutrition Cluster.
- Other “networks and coalitions” listed on the HWC website include: Stop the Wall Campaign, Civic Coalition to Defend Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, NGO Forum for Combating Violence Against Women, Coalition for Jerusalem, Arab Women Network, and People’s Health Movement.
2014-2021 Funding to HWC
|European Union||Implementing partner on a €699,236 project||2017|
|Al Quds Association (Spain)||€7,750||2017|
|Viva Salud (Belgium)||€178,476||2018|
|Individuell Människohjälp (Sweden)||SEK 743,948||2017|
|Municipality of San Sebastian||€11,630||2018-2020|
|Provincial council of Gipuzkoa||€40,000||2019-2020|
|Municipality of Málaga||€14,595||2019|
|Provincial Council of Málaga||€35,599||2019|
|DGD (Belgium)||Implementing partner on a €1,414,461 project||2014-2021|