Norwegian-Funded PNGO Glorifies Terrorism and Condemns Norway
How would you describe someone who infiltrated Israel from Lebanon by sea armed with Kalashnikov rifles, RPG light mortars, and high explosives, murdered a nature photographer on the beach, next opened fire on passing cars on a coastal highway, carjacked a taxi and slaughtered its occupants, and then hijacked two city buses–massacring in cold blood 38 passengers, including 13 children, and injuring 71? A mass murderer? A terrorist?
For the Palestinian Non-Government Organizations Network (PNGO), which receives Norwegian government funding, the terminology is “freedom fighter.”
Furthermore, in June 2017, PNGO condemned the Norwegian government for demanding the return of funding that was used for a youth center named after Dalal Mughrabi, who was among the perpetrators of the Coastal Road Massacre in 1978.
The Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende has strongly condemned the “glorification of terrorist attacks” implicit in the center’s naming. In contrast, PNGO stated that “Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende [sic] statement clearly de-legitmizes [sic] and criminalizes the lawful Palestinian resistance” (emphasis added).
PNGO further glorified Mughrabi by labelling her a “Palestinian Woman Freedom Fighter” and calling Norway’s censure as “another form of foreign domination and oppression calling Palestinian resistance a terrorist resistance against Israeli occupation.” PNGO then absurdly claims that “No one in Burqa or in the Palestinian society glorifies terrorism and or terrorist attacks; there is a difference between freedom fighters and terrorists.” (emphasis added).
(While the English version of the statement decried Norway’s request to remove its logo from the center, an Arabic version states that Norway has “the right to ask to remove its logo from the center, [but it is] not entitled to claim a refund of the money spent in it because it was spent according to the agreement.”)
The Norwegian government provided funding to PNGO and 10 partner organizations via its partnership with Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA). NPA is currently receiving NOK 50 million (2016-2019, approximately $5.8 million) for its “Partnership for democratic development in Palestine” project.1
In addition to Norwegian funding, PNGO also received a grant in 2011-2016 from the German Society for International Cooperation- GIZ (Germany) for a project titled “Strengthening Civil Society in the Palestinian Territories.” In 2015-2016, PNGO received a grant of $30,000 from the NGO Development Center (NDC), which received $500,000 (2013-2015) from the European Union for “Strengthening the Palestinian NGO Sector Capacity and Involvement in Governance and Democratic Processes.” The project was implemented by PNGO and other Palestinian NGO networks.
PNGO is an umbrella organization of over 60 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) based in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Member organizations include several groups with alleged ties to the PFLP terrorist organization. Furthermore, board member organizations include Palestinian Medical Relief Society, UAWC, Health Work Committees, Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center, and Land Research Center. Additionally, one of PNGO’s members is none other than the organization responsible for inaugurating the aforementioned center, Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC).
This is not the first time that PNGO has issued highly troubling statements about terrorism. In 2015, PNGO protested USAID funding guidelines, arguing that “any political party in Palestine is considered as a terrorist organization, whether it is Hamas, FPLP, DFLP, or even President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party. Signing a contract with the USAID means that you cannot work with any organization which has even one member of its board of directors affiliated to one of these parties.”
PNGO is also a member of the Palestinian BDS National Committee.
PNGO member organizations receive much of their funding from the EU and other European governments. Member organizations include: Women’s Affairs Technical Committee, Addameer, Al-Haq, Applied Research Institute- Jerusalem (ARIJ), BADIL, Defense for Children International – Palestine, Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center, Health Work Committees (HWC), Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center, Land Research Center, MA’AN Development Center, Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC), Palestinian Centre for Peace and Democracy, Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS), Palestinian Working Women Society for Development (PWWSD), PASSIA, Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies, Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC), Women’s Studies Centre –WSC, Young Women Christian Association (YWCA), Bisan, Hurryyat, MUSAWA, Muwatin, Palestinian Counseling Center, Palestinian Family Planning & Protection Association (PFPPA), Palestinian Hydrology Group, Tamer Institute for Community Education, Teacher Creativity Center, The Palestinian Farmers Union, Treatment and Rehabilitation Center of Victims of Torture, and Union of Health Care Committees- UHCC.
PNGO and its member organizations espouse attitudes that clearly contradict the values of European taxpayers. As they rightly did with the youth center, European governments should cease supporting PNGO – an organization that glorifies the brutal terrorist, Dalal Mughrabi as a “freedom fighter.” Likewise, donor countries should examine the relationship between PNGO and its member organizations, and withdraw financial support from any organizations that also advocate such despicable views.
- The project is being implemented by Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), which is identified by Fatah as an official PFLP “affiliate,” and by USAID as the “agricultural arm” of the PFLP. According to academic scholar Glenn E. Robinson, UAWC was founded in 1986 by “agronomists loosely affiliated with the PFLP.” The PFLP is a designated terror organization by the US, EU, UK, and Australia.