The Palestinian non-governmental organization (NGO) Addameer is a leader of campaigns in support of Palestinians prisoners convicted of security offenses, referring to them as “political prisoners” and altogether omitting the context of violence and terror.
Furthermore, according to Fatah, Addameer is an affiliate of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – designated as a terrorist organization by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel. Several of Addameer’s current and former employees, as well as lawyers that work for Addameer, have links to the PFLP. As an organization, Addameer regularly provides legal assistance to Palestinians accused by Israel of PFLP membership or activity on behalf of the terror group, such as PFLP General-Secretary Ahmed Sa’adat.
In October 2019, Addameer’s website listed Mahmoud Hassan as the head of its legal unit on its website. He has personally represented those – such as Khalida Jarrar – accused of PFLP membership and activity (see below).
It is important to note that NGO Monitor’s research is based on open source information. It is therefore possible that numerous other Addameer employees and/or board members have ties to the PFLP or other terror groups.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
Founded by George Habash in 1967, the PFLP is a secular Palestinian Marxist-Leninist organization, originally supported by the former Soviet Union and China. The PFLP is a terrorist organization, designated as such by the EU, the US, Canada, and Israel. The PFLP is involved in suicide bombings, shootings, and assassinations, among other terrorist activities targeting civilians, and was the first Palestinian organization to hijack airplanes in the 1960s and 1970s.
The group was responsible for the assassination of Israeli Minister of Tourism Rechavam Ze’evi in 2001, and its members joined with the Baader-Meinhof Gang (a West German radical group) to hijack an Air France Tel Aviv-bound flight in 1976, landing it in Entebbe, Uganda. PFLP members took credit for the house invasion and murder of the Fogel family in 2011 and was responsible for the massacre at a synagogue in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood in 2014 where four worshipers and an Israeli Druze police officer were murdered. The terror organization also praised its “comrades” for their role in the murder of Israeli Border Police office Hadas Malka, and wounding of four other Israelis in a June 16, 2017 attack in Jerusalem. In August 2019, a PFLP terror cell carried out a bombing against Israeli civilians, murdering 17-year-old Rina Shnerb, and injuring her father and brother.
In addition to Addameer, NGO Monitor has identified a broad network of Palestinian NGOs claiming to advance human rights or humanitarian interests that have links to the PFLP terror group. These connections include current and former NGO board members, officials, and employees who served in the PFLP or spoken on its behalf at public events and taken part in PFLP forums.
Addameer’s terror affiliation is antithetical to human rights norms and principles. Due to its affiliation with the PFLP and other terror groups, the provision of funds to Addameer is in likely violation of international, EU, and domestic terror financing and material support laws. The organization is therefore an inappropriate partner for governments and individuals seeking to further human rights in the region.
While Addameer has not published funding details since 2014, data from donor governments provides the following partial information:
- In 2018-2019, Addameer received CHF 3,900,000 from Switzerland (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation).
- In 2017, Addameer received €75,000 from Ireland (Irish Aid). In 2016, Ireland (Irish Aid) provided €75,000.
- Spain (Basque region) provided €180,000 in 2017-2019 and €199,988 in 2015-2019 to Addameer.
- In 2016-2018, SODePAZ via Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa (Spain) provided €81,248 to Addameer.
- Addameer received €162,712 in 2017 and €57,436 in 2016 from the Municipality of Barcelona.
- The Spanish Autonomous community of Navarre provided €158,486 in 2019, €153,486 in 2018, and €153,486 in 2017 to Addameer.
- In 2016-2018, Spanish Municipality of San Sebastián provided €66,489 to Addameer and €69,429 in 2015-2017.
- In 2016-2017, the Spanish Municipality of Vitoria-Gasteiz provided €68,332 to Addameer.
- In 2016, Spanish Municipality of Rivas-Vaciamadrid provided €22,630 to Addameer.
- In 2017, Japan provided UNICEF with $114,144 for “Informing humanitarian programmatic and advocacy response through documentation of grave violations against children affected by armed conflict.” Addameer, B’Tselem, DCI Palestine, Wadi Hilweh Information Centre, and War Child Holland are listed as implementing partners of the project.
- In 2016, UNICEF provided Addameer, Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), War Child Holland, Wadi Hilweh Information Centre, and B’Tselem with $205,028 for “Informing humanitarian programmatic and advocacy response through documentation of grave violations against children affected by armed conflict.”
- In 2016, Norway (Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) provided NOK 900,000 to Addameer.
- In 2014-2017, the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat, which was a joint-government funding mechanism of Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, provided $498,700 to Addameer.
Failure to Obtain UN Accreditation
On January 31, 2012, Addameer’s application to obtain ECOSOC consultative status (granting NGO access to UN forums) was deferred after the US representative to the Committee on NGOs asked “the applicant to clarify its affiliation with the Popular Front for the Organization of Palestine (sic).”
In June 2013, Addameer’s request for ECOSOC status was closed after it failed to respond to the question.
Addammer Staff with Ties to the PFLP
According to a November 6, 2019 Addameer article, Ghaith is the “former Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association Chairperson.” An October 2011 Addameer article also refers to Ghaith as “one of the founders of Addameer” and notes that he has “been serving on the Board for the past twenty years.”
- Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri banned him from traveling in February 2019 and also in February 2017. According to the Interior Ministry, Deri “was convinced that Abdul-Latif, an activist in the Popular Front [for the Liberation of Palestine] organization and a person who has connections to the organization’s activists abroad, will utilize his travel abroad for the organizational purposes of the Popular Front [for the Liberation of Palestine].”
- An August 27, 2017 PalInfo article notes that Deri stated that “Ghaith is still an active member of the banned Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and in contact with its leaders abroad, so his departure for other countries would contribute to strengthening the objectives of his organization and thus harm Israel’s security.”
- According to Samidoun, Ghaith, a Jerusalem resident, was banned from entering the West Bank between September 28, 2014 and March 15, 2015.
- According to Al-Haq, in 2012, Abdul-latif Ghaith was banned by Israel from travelling internationally.
- According to Addameer, he was banned from entering the West Bank in 2011. Electronic Intifada reported that this ban continued until at least April 2014.
- A 2009 article by Ma’an News Agency refers to Gaith as a member of the PFLP’s “political bureau.”
Khalida Jarrar served as vice-chairperson of Addameer until 2017.1 She is also seen being interviewed at Addameer’s offices in a 2019 video.
- Jarrar was arrested on October 31, 2019 on suspicions of “involvement in terror activity.” On December 18, 2019, it was revealed that Jarrar has “emerged as the head of the PFLP in the West Bank and responsible for all the organization’s activities” (emphasis added). According to her indictment:
- Jarrar was indicted on one count of holding a position in an illegal organization, dating back to June 2016.
- The indictment discusses how she and two other individuals arrested for their alleged involvement in the PFLP-terror cell that killed a 17-year old Israeli girl Rina Schnerb divided their responsibilities. The two others are Walid Hanatsheh (who works as the financial and administrative director at the PFLP-tied Health Work Commitees), and Abdul Razeq Farraj (administrative manager at the PFLP-tied Union of Agricultural Work Committees). The indictment explains that Jarrar was responsible for political and national activities, for terror, and Farraj for organizational development and recruitment.
- Jarrar was kept abreast of the work of her colleagues. The trio had multiple meetings in which they updated each other on their activities, dating back to 2014.
- According to Addameer, Jarrar was arrested in July 2017 and placed in administrative detention. According to Addameer, her detention was extended multiple times until she was released on February 28, 2019.
- Jarrar was administratively detained on April 1, 2015 by Israeli security forces and on April 15, 2015 she was indicted for various offenses including active membership in a terrorist organization (the PFLP) and inciting violence through a call to kidnap Israeli soldiers to be used as “bargaining chips for the release of Palestinian prisoners.”
- Jarrar accepted a plea bargain and was reportedly convicted on “one count of belonging to an illegal organization and another of incitement” receiving a 15- month prison sentence with an additional 10-month suspended sentence. According to an article in Haaretz, “The court noted that Jarrar was not being tried for being a member of the Palestinian parliament but rather for her activity in the PFLP.”
- In addition, Khalida Jarrar attended the 2019 and 2016 general assembly of the PFLP-tied NGO Health Work Committees (HWC).
Until October 2019, Addameer’s Arabic website listed Salah Hamouri as a field researcher. A September 11, 2019 interview with the French “Pourquoipas,” the interviewer refers to Hamouri as a “lawyer at Addameer,” to which Hamouri responds “yes, I am a lawyer” and adds that he is one of six lawyers at the organization.
- In 2005 Hamouri was arrested and convicted of plotting to assassinate former Israeli Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. According to the PFLP-tied NGO Samidoun, Hamouri was “released in Wafa al-Ahrar exchange deal in 2011 after spending seven years in Israeli occupation prisons. In addition, he was banned from entering the West Bank by an Israeli military order until September 2016, and his wife Elsa Lefort is currently banned from entering Palestine.”
- According to Samidoun, on February 26, 2018, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman signed a renewal of the administrative detention order to continue his imprisonment for another four months. The article notes that he had been arrested on August 27, 2017. In August 2017, Addameer petitioned the President of France for the release of Hamouri, who was ordered to six months in administrative detention on August 2017 for being a “security threat.” He was released on September 29, 2018.
- In an October 2011 statement, the PFLP referred to Hamouri as a “comrade.”
- According to Addameer, Hamouri was banned from entering the West Bank until September 2016, following his release in a prisoner exchange deal in 2011. (Hamouri was released in December 2011 as part of a swap of over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit).
- Upon his release in 2011, according to the PFLP, Hamouri stated that “there is no option for the Palestinian people except resistance because it is the only way for us to achieve our people’s rights, our freedom, and our self- determination.”
- A 2009 video supporting Hamouri includes footage from PFLP rallies and a photo of him (below) alongside notorious terrorists.
In October 2019, Addameer’s website listed Ayman Nasser as the coordinator of Addameer’s legal unit. Nasser is referred to as a “legal unit coordinator” in a September 2019 Amnesty International article.
- According to Amnesty International, “on 11 September 2019, the Israeli Ofer Military Court approved the renewal of Ayman Nasser’s administrative detention for a further four months. His detention is now expected to end on 4 January 2020. Ayman Nasser has been detained since 17 September 2018, without charge or trial in Ofer prison, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Ayman Nasser is the legal unit coordinator of Palestinian NGO Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Right Association.”
- On July 29, 2019, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled on Nasser’s administrative detention. It found that he had engaged in “organizational activity in the context of the Popular Front [for the Liberation of Palestine], “which was “significant and dangerous, along with additional Popular Front [for the Liberation of Palestine] members.” [On file with NGO Monitor]
- According to Addameer, Nasser was arrested on September 9, 2018. On September 16, 2018, Nasser received a 6-month administrative detention order.
- According to Addameer, Nasser was arrested on September 18, 2014 and placed in administrative detention. His administrative detention was renewed three times and he was released on September 13, 2015.
- On June 3, 2013, the Israeli military court convicted Nasser, who admitted to being a member of an unlawful organization, the PFLP, and for providing services to the organization. He was released in October 2013.
- On December 18, 2012, an indictment was filed against him in Israeli military court attributing a number of offenses relating to membership in the PFLP and activities on behalf of the organization.
- According to Amnesty International, he was arrested on October 15, 2012 for links to the PFLP.
- According to Addameer, he was imprisoned by Israel from 1992 to 1997.
- According to UAWC, Arbid was placed in administrative detention on December 24, 2015. According to Samidoun, Arbid “was ordered to an additional three months’ administrative detention” on March 12, 2016.
- Samidoun reported that Arbid was arrested on September 23, 2013 and placed in administrative detention. An October 30, 2013 Addameer article notes that “Addameer accountant Sameer Arbeed…will be released on November 21, 2013.”
- In an Addameer-produced video from April 2013, Arbid describes his numerous arrests. He states that he was arrested at the beginning of 2003 and sentenced to two and a half years in prison, and served an additional year in administrative detention.
- According to Samidoun, Arbid was placed in administrative detention from March 2007 to August 2008.
- According to Israeli security officials, on August 23, 2019, Samer Arbid commanded a PFLP terror cell that carried out a bombing against Israeli civilians, murdering 17-year old Rina Shnerb, and injuring her father and brother. According to the indictment, Arbid prepared and detonated the explosive device. A December 18, 2019 article in the Jerusalem Post notes that according to the Shabak, “Arbid prepared the explosive device and detonated it when he saw the Shnerb family approaching the spring.” According to Amnesty International, Arbid’s lawyer is “part of the Palestinian human rights group ‘Addameer.’”
- According to Arbid’s indictment, Arbid was indicted on 21 counts in Israeli military court. His alleged crimes include:
- Premeditated causing of death
- Planting an explosive
- Multiple counts of premeditated attempt to cause death. These include involvement in shooting attacks against civilian buses and private vehicles, as well as the August 23, 2019 bomb attack in which Rena Schnerb was murdered.
- Illegal possession of weapons.
- Weapons trafficking.
- Membership in an illegal organization.
- According to Arbid’s indictment, Arbid was indicted on 21 counts in Israeli military court. His alleged crimes include:
In October 2019, Addameer’s website listed Yacoub Odeh (Yaquod Oudeh) as a board member.
- According to Passia (Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs), Odeh joined the PFLP in 1967.
- An August 27, 2013 PA TV interview with the terrorist Aisha Odeh links Yacoub Odeh to a 1969 terrorist attack in Jerusalem. According to Aisha Odeh, “…Rasmieh Odeh and Yaqub Odeh are from Lifta. I am from Dir Jarir. In addition there were Samia Al-Tawil and Mahmoud Al-Ubeid. The five of us were tried together, even though I had no connection to any of them aside from Rasmieh. Yaqub Odeh was sentenced to 3 life sentences, Rasmieh Odeh was sentenced to 3 life sentences, and I was sentenced to 2 life sentences… One life sentence for carrying out an operation, one life sentence for not reporting the operation, and ten years for my membership in the [PFLP] organization… Israelis died [in the bombing]. We placed two bombs. One bomb exploded and one bomb was discovered a few moments before it exploded. Two were killed and 10 (sic., 20) were wounded…”
- According to the PFLP, Odeh spoke at a February 8, 2014 PFLP ceremony where “Hundreds of PFLP members and activists participated in the event honouring veteran activists, who announced they are launching an association of PFLP veterans and long-term cadres.” According to the PFLP “Comrade Yacoub Odeh, who spent 17 years in Israeli prisons, spoke on behalf of the veteran cadres, carrying a unified message of commitment to the Popular Front’s united position and dedication to the freedom of the Palestinian people and the liberation of the land of Palestine. He confirmed that the veteran comrades’ deep commitment to the front was built on the sacrifices of the martyrs and great leaders who forged the path, and that now it is necessary to continue to achieve the goal for which the Front was launched.”
- In 2017, Odeh participated in a conference, “The 1987 Intifada: History and Memory” in commemoration of “the thirtieth Anniversary of the First Palestinian Uprising against the Israeli Occupation.” The conference, held in Gaza on November 24-26 and in Beirut on November 28-30, featured speakers that are former or current members of the Hamas and PFLP terrorist organizations. The event was originally co-sponsored by the Heinrich Boll Stiftung but after the terrorist links of many of the speakers were publicized, the Foundation withdrew its sponsorship.
In October 2019, Addameer’s website listed Mahmoud Jiddah as a board member. Jiddah also serves as a board member at Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P) in 2012 – 2016. A May 13, 2017 picture taken at a meeting of the DCI-P General Assembly shows Jiddah standing next to DCI-P’s General Assembly President Nassar Ibrahim, indicating his ongoing affiliation with DCI-P.
- Jiddah was imprisoned by Israel for 17 years for carrying out grenade attacks against Israeli civilians in Jerusalem in 1968. He was released in 1985 in a prisoner swap. A February 2017 Al Jazeera article furthers that Jiddah was arrested in 1968 for joining the front and carrying out terrorist attacks in Jerusalem, Hebron, and Tel Aviv.
- According to news reports, following a 2016 meeting with Jiddah, Didier Ortiz, then a Green Party candidate for the Fort Lauderdale City Council, posted an Instagram photo of Jiddah citing the latter’s PFLP affiliation.
- An April 2017 article in Arabic language media notes that Jiddah is “of the PFLP cadres” and that he spent his last twenty years serving different periods of time in jail.
- A March 2006 article in Arabic language media notes that Jiddah was arrested and refers to him as a PFLP official.
In October 2019, Addameer’s website listed Bashir Al-Khairi as a board member. He was also the president of the PFLP-tied Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) board until 2011.
- In August 2014, according to the PFLP, al-Khairi stressed that the “approach of resistance and liberation in the life of Comrade Abu Ali Mustafa is still firmly in the mind of every free Palestinian” at a PFLP event commemorating the “13th Anniversary of Martyrdom of its Secretary General Abu Ali Mustafa.” At the event, Al-Khairi stated that “the time has come to recognize those who contributed to the steadfastness of Gaza in its war against the Zionist enemy, namely Iran, Syria, and Lebanon, headed by Hezbollah.”
- In statements in 2012 and 2014, the PFLP referred to Al-Khairi as an “historic leader,” a “comrade,” and a “leader.”
- According to a 2013 AusAID document, Bashir al Khairi was “convicted of terrorist offences in 1969 and gaoled for 15 years.”
- According to Arabic media, Al-Khairi was arrested by the IDF along with other PFLP members in October 2010. The article refers to Al-Khairi as being a member of the PFLP’s National Council.
- Khairi was arrested in 2010 and 2011. According to an article in Arabic language media, in 2010, Al-Khairi was arrested by the IDF along with other PFLP members. The article refers to him as being a member of the PFLP’s National Council.
- According to a 2002 CNN article, Khairi was the head of the PFLP political bureau.
In October 2019, Addameer’s website listed Hasan Safadi as Arabic Media and Communications Officer.
- According to Addameer, Safadi was detained by Israel on May 1, 2016 after returning from Tunisia and was placed in administrative detention on June 10, 2016. Addameer adds that the “public prosecution claimed that Safadi is affiliated with an illegal organization and has visited an enemy state (Lebanon) more than one time. It also claimed that he has illegal activities without specifying the details of these activities, in addition to claiming that he is affiliated with other detainees without identifying the names of these detainees.”
- Amnesty International confirms that Safadi was “detained since 10 June 2016.”
- According to Front Line Defenders, on October 26, 2016, Safadi was sentenced to three months and one day imprisonment for visiting Lebanon.
- Israel prevented Habash from leaving the West Bank in 2011-2012. According to Addameer, Israel prevented Habash from leaving the West Bank twice in 2011.
- A 2011 BDS National Committee statement includes him as a member of the group.
- According to the PFLP, Habash participated in the “World Social Forum” in Tunisia in March 2015 and is a member of the “Forum’s international coordinating committee and a representative of the Palestinian national committee for the Forum.”3
- Habash is apparently the nephew of PFLP founder George Habash.
- 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)” [sic] arrested by the PA Palestinian National Authority following the 2001 assassination of the Israeli Minister Rehavam Ze’evi by the PFLP.
- Habash was also reportedly HWC’s “European representative,” until at least 2015.4
Mazen Abu Aoun
- According to Addameer, the PA arrested Abu Aoun on January 10, 2011 and on May 18, 2015.
- In April 2011, Abu Aoun represented the PFLP terrorist Munzter Ahmad Muhammad Hamdi, who was charged with shooting and throwing explosives (see “The Military Court of Samaria, File No. 1411/10, April 7, 2011”).
- According to the Palestinian news agency, Wafa, on January 28, 2008, Abu Aoun was placed in administrative detention by Israel.
Naser Abu Khdair
As of January 2020, Naser Abu Khdair is listed as an Addameer board member. Addameer’s 2011 Annual Report also lists Khdair as a board member.
- According to a January 2018 article published by Samidoun, “Abu Khdeir is a prominent leader in Jerusalem and has spent 15 years in Israeli prison. Most recently, he served five and a half years in Israeli prison for membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.”
- Samidoun notes that Abu Khdair was “imprisoned from:
- 17 October 1977 – 18 April 1978
- 1 April 1981 – 10 March 1986
- 16 October 1994 – 24 May 1995
- 21 February 2001 – 17 June 2002
- 14 December 2003 – 9 June 2004
- 7 June 2005 – 16 March 2006
- 15 April 2011 – 13 October 2016”
- An October 2016 video exhibits a poster featuring Abu Khdair and the PFLP logo.
- In an August 2018 article published by the PFLP, Abu Khudair is referred to as “an official at the PFLP.”
- According to Arabic language media, Abu Khudair was badly injured in the early 80s while assembling an explosive device, which he planned to detonate near a “bus stop for soldiers in Jerusalem.”
- As reported on the Arab48 website, the Shin Bet arrested Abu Khadair in 2011 for heading a terrorist group that planned to commit terrorist attacks and kidnap a soldier. Arab48 adds that he was the connecting link with PFLP leadership in Damascus and met with PFLP officials in Jordan in order to receive training and funds.
Mahmoud al Safadi
As of January 2020, Mahmoud al Safadi is listed as an Addameer board member. Addameer’s 2011 Annual Report also lists al Safadi as a board member.
- According to a 2004 Arabic language media article, al Safadi is a member of the PFLP and was sentenced to 27 years imprisonment. The article notes that he was convicted in an Israeli court of carrying out guerrilla operations. According to the Goethe institute, he served 18 years in prison.
Anas Barghouthi was an Addameer lawyer. Addameer notes that Barghouthi was a “lawyer at Addameer between 2009-2013, and is one of the first lawyers to defend political prisoners in Palestinian Authority prisons.”
- Barghouthi was arrested in September 2013 and was subsequently charged with “membership of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine” and “leadership of a committee to organize demonstrations.”
- In February 2017, Barghouthi accepted a plea that includes “a 7,000-shekel ($1,892) fine, as well as a suspended sentence of 18 months in prison if Barghouthi is found to be involved with PFLP in the coming five years.
Appendix 1: PFLP Website Links to Addameer
Screenshot of PFLP website in English, which links to Addameer’s website and to the sites of other organizations with suspected PFLP ties (November 5, 2015):
- NGO Monitor has on file documented statements from the PFLP’s West Bank and Gaza branch, as well as from its branch in in Syria, that refer to Jarrar as a member of the organization’s political bureau from at least 2012–2019
- Additionally, according to Arabic-language media, Arbid worked as the accountant of the PFLP-affiliated NGO Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) at the time of his September 2019 arrest. Similarly, according to an October 2, 2019 Facebook post from the “Palestine and Israel” office of the German organization Medico, “With deep concern we had to observe the arrest of Samer Al-Arbeed, who is working for our partner organisation UAWC.” In 2016, according to the PFLP-tied NGO Samidoun, Arbid was the “financial director of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees in the West Bank.”
- According to the PFLP, in 2015, “The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine participated in the World Social Forum in Tunis … including with a presentation by Comrade Abu Ahmad Fuad, Deputy General Secretary of the PFLP.”
- According to a May 2015 article on Euromed-France’s website.