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Introduction

According to its website, “Al Mezan Center for Human Rights is an independent, non-partisan, non-governmental human rights organization based in the Gaza Strip” that “envision[s] a free and sovereign Palestinian society where all women, men and children enjoy the benefits of social justice, human rights, the merit of the rule of law, and good governance, fully and equally.”

Al Mezan is highly active in anti-Israel lawfare campaigns and has made attempts to secure arrest warrants for Israeli officials for alleged “war crimes.” Al Mezan has submitted numerous documents to the International Criminal Court (ICC) requesting the investigation and prosecution of Israeli officials. During the 2014 Gaza War, Al Mezan provided UN-OCHA with casualty statistics that identified combatants and members of terror groups killed during the conflict as “civilians.”

Al Mezan does not publish annual income or funding amounts, reflecting a lack of transparency. Prominent donors to Al Mezan include the European UnionNetherlandsHuman Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat,1 DiakoniaAmerican Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and Medico International (Germany). (See Appendix I.)

Al-Mezan claims that it seeks to advance human rights. However, its officials and employees include members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Hamas – both designated as terrorist organizations by the US and the EU.  Additionally, Al-Mezan officials and board members often speak at PFLP events, and many have posted material on their social media accounts promoting terror groups or utilizing antisemitic imagery and rhetoric.

Affiliations of Al-Mezan Board Members, Officials, and Employees

Based on reports from Arabic media, as well as statements from Hamas and the PFLP, a number of Al-Mezan board members, officials, and employees appear to have direct affiliations with these terrorist groups.

Nafiz Al-Madhoun, member of the Al Mezan Board2

Madhoun serves as Director General of the Hamascontrolled Palestinian Legislative Council.3

A number of Arabic-language sources have referred to Al-Madhoun as a Hamas leader, or the head of Hamas’ parliamentary bloc in Gaza.  Palestinian government sources have also noted his co-hosting of a September 2011 event for Gaza security personnel with Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri.

Kamal El-Sharafi, Chairman of the Board4

El-Sharafi serves, inter alia, as Head of Al Aqsa University’s board of trustees and as advisor to the Palestinian president on Human Rights and Civil Society.5

El-Sharafi’s meeting with a delegation of representatives from the PFLP’s student body, PSLF. (Source: Dr. Kamal El-Sharafi’s Facebook profile.)

Jamil Sarhan, Treasurer6

Sarhan also serves as a lawyer and as Deputy CEO of the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) in Gaza. He is part of the Democratic Union of Lawyers and Jurists,7 which the PFLP defines as a “PFLP union framework.”8

Talal Awkal, Deputy Head of the Board9

Samir Zaqut, Deputy CEO, Director of the Monitoring, Awareness and Documentation Unit10

Hussein Hammad, responsible for the North Gaza District, Delegate to the Mobilization and Technical Assistance Unit11

  • On May 13, 2017, Hammad received an award from a PFLP branch in honor of his receiving his M.A. According to the PFLP website, Abdullah Mheisan, joined “the PFLP at the beginning of the First Intifada and played a fundamental role in the uprising by resisting the occupation in all forms, and participated in many military operations that hurt the enemy, believing that armed struggle against the Zionist enemy is the shortest way to achieve victory.”

Al-Mezan Officials and Employees’ Social Media Posts

In addition to the direct connections between Al-Mezan and its employees with terrorist organizations, several of them have posted material on their social media accounts glorifying terror attacks and groups and utilizing antisemitic rhetoric and imagery.  These transgressions alone should disqualify them from enjoying foreign government support and from engaging with the UN, the International Criminal Court (ICC), and other international bodies.

Mohammed Abdullah, Head of the Rafah branch of Al-Mezan12

According to his Facebook page, Abdullah has worked at Al-Mezan since 2000.

Hussein Hammad (see above for his PFLP-awarded prize).

  • Hammad has frequently posted his support for terrorist attacks, PFLP terrorists and the PFLP. (See Appendix III for additional images.)
  • On October 17, 2016, Hammad shared an anti-Semitic video of an interview from Egyptian TV, where the speaker says: “We should tell them [the new generations] how America became a game in the hands of global Zionism… we should teach them… the truth told by Christian Congressman Herbert Spencer: …The Jews in our country control everything… all that is left is to change the name of New York to Jew York… Benjamin Franklin said: The undoing of America will be at the hand of the Jews.”

    Hammad’s post, celebrating the July 1, 2016 Palestinian terror attack, which led to the death of Rabbi Michael Mark. Caption reads: “The Palestinians celebrate a shooting attack on settlers and the killing of one of them,” with the hashtags: #road60, #fast_response, #glory_to_the_perpetrator.” (Source: Hammad’s Facebook profile.)

  • In July and August 2016, Hammad uploaded a series of posts sympathizing with Bilal Kaid.
  • At the same time, Hammad posted a series of pictures of PFLP secretary General, Ahmad Saadat.
  • On July 1, 2016, Hammad posted a picture celebrating the murder of Israeli civilian Michael Mark and the wounding of members of his family in a July 1, 2016 shooting attack.
  • On May 13, 2016, Hammad posted a picture of the word “Palestine” in Arabic, with one of the letters made up of a rifle, alongside the writing: “The resistance continues.”
  • On April 10, 2016, Hammad posted a picture of the PFLP logo with PFLP terrorist Ibrahim Al-Ra’i, named by the official PFLP website a “legendary leader and comrade,” who was arrested by Israel several times for his activities in the Front.
  • In December 2015, Hammad posted a series of photos identifying with the PFLP.
  • On October 22, 2015, Hammad posted an antisemitic caricature of a Jew looking behind his back in fear of a stabbing attack. Hammad added: “When the settler looks behind his back on all the streets… When the occupying power encourages its residents to acquire weapons… when an occupier intentionally kills another occupier for suspicion… It means that we are on the right track. The uprising has begun and will not stop… Glory to the martyrs.”
  • On October 14, 2015, Hammad posted a photo of PFLP terrorist, Alaa’ Abu Jamal, who carried out a deadly terrorist ramming and stabbing attack in Jerusalem on October 13, 2015, murdering one and injuring two others. The text accompanying the picture reads: “The Abu Ali Mustafa brigades mourn the comrade, the hero Shahid, Alaa’ Abu Jamal.

Anti-semitic and terror-inciting caricature posted by Hammad. (Source: Hammad’s Facebook profile.)

Wa’el Mohammad Ahmad, accountant13

On December 11, 2018, Ahmad posted a picture of himself with a PFLP flag, adding: “The revolution is strong as steel… red as embers… steadfast as an oak… deep as our brutal love for the nation” – Che Guevara. Happy anniversary to my brothers and comrades, long live our resistance and we will remain in the pledge of the martyrs.”

(Source: Ahmad’s Facebook profile [since deleted])

  • On November 11, 2018, Ahmad posted a picture of a Palestinian fighter with a rifle alongside the caption: “We wish for resistance. We wish for bombing of the bombers. We wish for the kidnapping of soldiers. This is Gaza, pride. Your calls for resistance, O God, support them, O God protect them and O God, have mercy on the martyrs.”
  • On April 13, 2018, Ahmad posted a series of pictures of him participating in what seems to be the weekly violent riots at the Israeli border known as the “marches of return,” alongside the caption: “The right will be returned by the sword and machine gun.”
  • On February 15, 2018, Ahmad uploaded a cartoon, alongside the caption: “The strife against the enemy, in all its forms, is a legitimate right.”

On October 17, 2017, when the PFLP commemorated its 2001 assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi, Ahmed posted a picture of a man wrapped in a PFLP flag with the caption: “The poor are wrapped in their homeland and do not know the meaning of submission. On October 17 the muffler resonated (a common PFLP term alluding to the murder of Ze’evi). I salute the resistance. Good morning, brothers, and comrades, a morning of pride and dignity.”

Al-Mezan Events Featuring Terrorist Organization Participation

  • On April 6, 2015, Al-Mezan organized a conference on the International Criminal Court (ICC), featuring speakers from terrorist groups including senior Hamas official Khalil Al-Hayya and Islamic Jihad political bureau member Khaled Al-Batash.
    • The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) logo was prominently featured at the conference. A number of NGO officials, including Al-Haq’s Shawan Jabarin, Adalah’s Hassan Jabareen and representatives of PFLP-linked groups such as Al-Dameer and Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) participated. (See Appendix I.)
  • On January 30, 2020, Al-Mezan CEO Issam Younis14 led a meeting hosted by the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR)15 concerning Palestinian reconciliation, which saw participation of representatives from several terror groups, such as senior Hamas official and spokesman of the Hamas government, Taher Al-Nunu, and then-leader of the PFLP in Gaza, Rabah Muhanna.
  • On November 21, 2013, Al-Mezan organized the “Transitional Justice in Palestine” conference, featuring Hamas Legislative Council member Yahya Al-Abadseh, Islamic Jihad official Khaled Al-Batash, and PFLP Central Committee member Kayed Al-Ghoul. Representatives from NGOs, including Mohsen Abu Ramadan from the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), Roland Friedrich from the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance, Jameel Sarhan from the Independent Committee on Human Rights (ICHR), and Raji Sourani of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) joined as well.

Appendix I: Funding to Al Mezan (2014-2020)

DonorAmountYear(s)
European Union€449,9972017-2020
Netherlands€202,0552018-2019
Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat$641,7002014-2017
Save the Children NorwayNOK 1,165,2692018
NOK 1,333,4552017
NOK 1,233,9002016
Medico InternationalN/A2017
DiakoniaN/A2015-2017
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)N/A2016
UN-OCHA$244,7562019
Medical Aid for Palestinians$10,0002019

 

Appendix II

Al-Mezan conference on the ICC featuring speakers from Hamas and Islamic Jihad

(Source: Al Mezan website.)

 

Appendix III

Head of Al-Mezan’s board, Kamal El-Sharafi, with PFLP delegations and members:

In this picture, El-Sharafi can be seen against the background of Darwish’s picture and the PFLP logo. (Source: El-Sharafi’s Facebook profile.)

In the picture posted on his Facebook page, Sharafi can be seen on the background of the PFLP logo and pictures of Najjar and PFLP secretary general, Ahmad Saadat (first on the right). Sharafi added on his Facebook page: “This man gave his life in defense of his people and country and the justice of his cause.” (Source: El-Sharafi’s Facebook profile.)

El-Sharafi with member of the PFLP Political Bureau, Jameel Al-Majdalawi in Cairo, referring to him as “a comrade.” (Source: El-Sharahi’s Facebook profile.)

Appendix IV

Al-Mezan employee, Hasan Hammad’s PFLP award and PFLP-supporting Facebook posts

A picture of the award Hammad received from PFLP’s “Shaheed Abdullah Mheisan Organization.” (May 13, 2017) (Source: Hammad’s Facebook profile.)

One example of the series of pictures of PFLP secretary General, Ahmad Saadat on Hammad’s Facebook page. (July 31, 2016) (Source: Hammad’s Facebook profile.)

Examples of the many photos identifying with the PFLP, posted as a series by Hammad. (December 13, 2015) (Source: Hammad’s Facebook profile.)

Picture glorifying PFLP terrorist, Alaa’ Abu Jamal, uploaded on Hammad’s Facebook page. (October 14, 2015) (Source: Hammad’s Facebook profile.)