Viva Salud (formerly Third World Health Aid [THWA])
|In their own words||“United for Health”|
- In 2019, total income was €1.65 million, of which €999,457 was from government funding; total expenses were €1.69 million.
- In 2017-2021, the Directorate-General Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD), a branch of the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, provides €955,976 to Viva Salud for activities in, West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.
- In 2019, DGD granted €884,783 to Viva Salud.
- Viva Salud (formerly Third World Health Aid [TWHA], known as “Médecine pour le Tiers Monde [M3M]” in French and “Geneeskunde voor de Derde Wereld [G3W]” in Flemish), is a Belgium-based organization that claims to fight “for the right to health and sovereign development in Palestine, the Philippines, Cuba, the DR Congo, Laos and other parts of the world.”
- According to Viva Salud’s program manager in “Palestine,” “Showing solidarity with the Palestinian social movement and supporting Palestinian youth remains fundamental. Just as fundamental are social mobilization and pressure on our governments to take measures that finally force Israel to respect the rights of Palestinians.”
Ties to the PFLP
- Viva Salud partners with and funds the Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC), Health Work Committee (HWC), and the Bisan Center for Research and Development (Bisan). All three of these organizations have ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization, designated as such by the EU, US, Canada, and Israel. (See further information below.)
- In April 2020, to mark International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian Political Prisoners, Viva Salud called for the release of Waleed Hanatsheh. In October 2019, Waleed Hanatsheh – a member of PNGO’s board of directors and the Financial and Administrative director for Health Work Committees, was arrested for participating in a terrorist attack in which a 17-year old was murdered. According to the indictment against him, Hanatsheh bankrolled the bombing. Following his arrest, the PFLP labeled Hanatsheh a “leader in the Popular Front.”
- In December 2019, Viva Salud launched a campaign for the release of Ubai Aboudi, the director of Bisan Center for Research & Development, who was arrested in November 2019. Aboudi, Bisan’s Executive Director, was sentenced in June 2020 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).
- In October 2019, Viva Salud held a protest “against torture in Israeli prisons” and demanding the release of Samer Arbid. Arbid, Union of Agricultural Works Committee’s accountant from 2016 until his arrest in 2019, was indicted on 21 counts in Israeli military court. Arbid is on trial for commanding a PFLP terror cell that carried out a bombing, murdering an Israeli civilian, and injuring her father and brother. According to the indictment against him (on file), Arbid prepared and detonated the explosive device. On August 30, 2020, the PFLP referred to Arbid as a “prisoner and commander,” and “one of the heroes of the Bubeen operation” — referring to the August 2019 bombing.
- Supports an arms embargoagainst Israel, which would “give wings to the BDS campaign.” According to Viva Salud, “the imposition of such an embargo by the Belgian authorities would be a powerful signal to prevent Israel from launching a new war. At the same time, it would be a strong signal to Europe to finally decide to bury its alliance with Israel.”
- Supports the suspension of the European Union-Israel Association Agreement.
- In March 2020, Viva Salud hosted a “training weekend” called “#LetsDecolonize” featuring a lecture titled “The Palestinian BDS movement [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions]: the best means of pressure against Israeli apartheid?”
- In 2019, Viva Salud lobbied in support of the discriminatory UN database of businesses operating across the 1949 Armistice line, aimed at bolstering BDS campaigns against Israel.
- In 2018-2019, Viva Salud supported the campaign to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel, accusing Israel of “apartheid” and “violating Palestinians’ rights for 70 years.”
- In May 2018, during the violence on the Gaza border, Viva Salud called for Belgium to “join a growing group of authorities, cultural actors, academics and businesses in the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement…Belgium would do well to take inspiration from these examples. International sanctions would prevent many more blood baths.”
- On February 7, 2017, Viva Salud was a signatory on a statement marking the anniversaries of the 1917 Balfour declaration, the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan, and the “beginning of Israel’s occupation in 1967.” The statement calls for “the suspension of the EU’s Association Agreement with Israel.” The statement condemns the 1947 UN partition plan, claiming it “resulted in the 1948 Nakba, the demolition of more than 530 Palestinian villages and the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland, and is thus a process of ethnic cleansing.” It also claims that European countries “made Palestine carry the consequences of the monstrous genocide of the European Jews by the Nazis; and subsequently they did nothing to require that Israel respect UN resolution.”
- Supports the “Made in Illegality” campaign. The campaign’s demands include banning Belgian and French imports of all “settlement products,” discouraging Belgian and French companies “from investing in settlements,” and preparing information for travelers “to ensure that they avoid supporting companies and tourist sites that are located in the settlements.”
- In May 2018, during the violence on the Gaza border, Viva Salud condemned Israel’s use of “extreme violence” including “live ammunition on unarmed protesters, tear gas, and so on.” According to Viva Salud, “the Nakba is still ongoing today: evictions, demolition of houses and schools, grabbing of agricultural land, harassment, increase in the number of settlements, illegal blockade of Gaza, system of apartheid.” Viva Salud 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 February 2018, Viva Salud accused Israel of placing Palestinians in an “open-air prison.”
- In July 2017, Viva Salud shared a “Message of solidarity to the Palestinian people” by the Philippine National Women’s Alliance GABRIELA stating that “We affirm our solidarity with the people, especially with the women of Palestine, who are constantly fearful for their lives and those of their families because of the endless atrocities inflicted by the Zionists…Ayelet Shaked’s statement from the Jewish Home and Member of Parliament calling for the massacre of Palestinian mothers to prevent them from bringing more small Palestinians, clearly reflects the Zionists’ policy of destroying the Palestinian nation. This is no different from the genocide perpetrated by Hitler against all the Jewish people” (emphasis added).
- In May 2017, Viva Salud published an article titled “The Palestinian national identity censored in the name of neutrality,” denouncing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) for censoring textbooks “in the name of the principle of ‘neutrality’.” ”Controversial passages” that Viva Salud accused UNRWA of censoring include “conflict, settlements, Israeli soldiers, violence against the Palestinian population, and Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.” According to the article, “the culture of normalization with Israel can only distance the future Palestinian generation from resistance to occupation.” (emphasis added)
- Referring to the reconstruction of Gaza following the 2014 Gaza war, Viva Salud claims that “medical aid for the Palestinians is above all an opportunity for the Israeli pharmaceutical industry, which enjoys a monopolistic position in the sale of medicines to the inhabitants of Gaza. For the Israeli business world, ‘reconstruction’ is in turn a source of profit.”
- In a 2013 article titled “Gaza drowned, Israel adds water,” Viva Salud referred to a weeklong storm that caused damage in Gaza and claimed that “making the situation worse, Israel opened the gates of a dam…with the consequences that the homes of hundreds of Gazans were left under water.” This story was a blatant fabrication.
- In a 2013 publication bearing the Belgium Development Cooperation logo, the organization states, “One of the most flagrant examples of how a sovereign state has been undermined is the decades-long occupation and colonization of Palestine, which began in 1948 when Palestinians were driven en masse from their villages in what is now Israel.” (Emphasis added).
- In August 2012, following the 2009 closure of Nidal community center in Jerusalem run by Health Work Committees, a Viva Salud partner, as well as other Palestinian community centers, Viva Salud accused Israel of advancing “a policy of repression and discrimination, aiming at expelling the Palestinians and Judaizing the city.” Viva Salud does not mention that the center was closed by Israeli authorities due to its ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization (see below for further ties to the PFLP). In this context, Viva Salud also accused Israel of advancing a “policy of ethnic cleansing” in Jerusalem.
- In October 2011, Viva Salud published an article titled “Women rights in Palestine: a double struggle,” claiming that “the Israeli occupation of Palestine is an obstacle for Palestinian women” in “their struggle for rights and equality.” The article suggests that some Palestinian parents “decide to not allow their daughters to go to school and sometimes prefer to marry their daughters at a young age…to avoid degrading treatment [by Israelis] at the checkpoints.” Viva Salud also claims that “mobility restriction [of Palestinians] increased the number of weddings within same family in the village” and that this “increases the risks of genetic anomalies.”
- Viva Salud partners with and funds the Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC) and Health Work Committee (HWC). Both of these organizations have ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization, designated as such by the EU, US, Canada, and Israel.
- UHWC is identified by Fatah as an official PFLP “affiliate” and by USAID as the “the PFLP’s health organization.” Several UHWC board and staff members have reported ties to the terrorist group.
- 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.” According to the Jerusalem District Court, “following the closure of the [Center], the PFLP began operating under the guise of the non-profit the Union of Health Work Committees – Jerusalem…on June 9, 2015 at the request of the Minister of Defense the non-profit was an unlawful organization…”
- Rabah Muhana, one of UHWC’s founders and former head, served as a member of the PFLP political bureau. On May 5, 2019, the PFLP issued a statement mourning Muhanna’s death and referring to him as a “warrior and a great national leader” and “one of the most prominent national leaders in the Gaza Strip.” During his funeral, Muhanna’s coffin was escorted by armed PFLP militants.
- Magdi Yaghi, UHWC treasurer and board member in 2016-2019, is referred to by the PFLP as a “member of the regional command” and a “comrade.” In addition to UHWC, Yaghi is involved with the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), another PFLP “affiliate.” In 2013, he served as a UAWC board member. He also participated in a 2019 UAWC event.
- HWC is referred by Viva Salud as UHWC’s “sister organization.” Several HWC board and staff members have reported ties to the terrorist group.
- 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 [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, p.6489).
- Daoud Ghoul, director of development projects and programs in Jerusalem, was convicted by an Israeli court of being a PFLP member (decision 19274-07-15).
- The Israeli High Court of Justice decision on his matter [19274-07-15] states, “The defendant decided to join the organization [PFLP]… Due to the closure of the [Nidal] center, the organization began to operate covertly through the ‘Health union committees – Jerusalem’…On 09/06/15 the defense minister announced that the association is an unlawful association…”
- In June 2015, Viva Salud claimed that the detention of its “colleague” Daoud Ghoul, the coordinator of the youth program of HWC, “demonstrates that his work is embarrassing… [and] disturbs the Israeli government.”
- Viva Salud also partners with the Bisan Center for Research & Development (Bisan).
Funding to Palestinian NGOs
Data taken from Viva Salud annual reports
|Health Work Committees and Union of Health Workers Committee||€178,654||€163,595||€176,635||€172,131
- The precise amount transferred to each NGO is unclear.
- In the wake of the 2014 Gaza war, Viva Salud raised €65,000for UHWC.
All Articles about Viva Salud (formerly Third World Health Aid [THWA])