In December 2016, the EU announced grants under the EU Peacebuilding Initiative (European Neighbourhood Policy) with a total budget of €4.9 million.
Among the recipients and projects, a number (receiving one-third of the total budget) demonstrate records of activities that are entirely inconsistent with the stated goals of promoting peace in the region:
1. Ma’an Television Network (€427,200 Grant ENI/2016/381-582, 2016-2019)
“Media for Change: Leveraging Media Initiatives to Promote Participatory Engagement in the Peace Process”
- Ma’an acts as a platform for analyses and commentary, frequently accusing Israel of “apartheid,” “war crimes,” “genocide,” “massacres,” “human rights violations,” acting with “impunity” and maintaining a “system of segregation and apartheid”; refers to terrorism as “resistance.”
- On August 1, 2017, Ma’an Network published an article in Arabic titled “Song in Hebrew in Defense of Al Aqsa Mosque,” featuring a video of the same name. The video features terror attacks committed against Israelis, accompanied by a Hebrew song with the lyrics “I will clean my country of every Jew / I will strive for it with all my being” (NGO Monitor translation). The post reports that the video “promises to clean Palestine of Jews, and protests against Israeli security measures,” and adds a Ma’an commentary that “Israel deteriorated the situation in Al Aqsa mosque when it installed metal detectors in the entrance to Al Aqsa compound” (NGO Monitor translation). Following widespread condemnation, Ma’an removed the article from its website and the video from its YouTube account. To date, Ma’an has neither condemned the video, nor apologized for featuring it uncritically.
2. Oxford Research Group (ORG), I’LAM Arab Center for Media Freedom Development and Research (R.A.) and PalThink (co-grantees of €488,098 Grant 2016-2019)
“Building Strategic Capacity: Empowering Civil, Political and Emerging Constituencies in Palestine and Israel”
- These NGO grantees are highly politicized organizations that have no record of having contributed to peace and reconciliation efforts.
- ORG’s Palestine Strategy Group published a strategy report that supports “resistance in all its forms including the growing global movement for boycott sanctions and divestment” (emphasis added). Dr. Husam Zomlot, part of ORG’s Middle East Team and co-founder and coordinator of its Palestine Strategy Group, claimed in an interview on BBC (BBC Interview, 20 Aug 2014 from 39:21) that “They [Israelis] are fabricating all these stories about beheading journalists in Iraq… it happened somewhere else in Iraq, as if they are fabricating also the story of the Holocaust, that it happened in Europe, not the story itself, but the reason why they are doing this, and using so many other examples, to justify their murder of a nation.”
- PalThink’s 2015 Meet the Youth initiative focused “on strengthening the Palestinian youth and their engagement in civic and political life in Gaza” by inviting Hamas’ Basem Na’im and the PFLP’s Kayed al-Ghoul to speak with teenagers.
- In a January 2016 article, al-Ghoul called for increased terrorism against Israelis, saying, “The armed resistance is a major form of resistance for the Palestinian people. It must be expanded and put to good use…”
- In June 2016, Na’im tweeted, “V danergous! #Israel Rabbi call 2 poison the water in the #WestBank 2displace Palestinians from their land #BDS” as part of a false libel against Israel, reminiscent of a classical antisemitic canard.
- I’lam Center repeatedly condemns Israeli anti-terror measures, including the monitoring of Palestinian social media accounts, claiming that the Israeli unit “arrest[s] activists under the pretext that their publications through social networks indicate that they may have the ‘intention’ to carry out ‘terrorist attacks.’” I’lam erases the context of Palestinian terrorism and incitement, and the Israeli right to defend itself and its civilians.
- During the 2014 Gaza War, I’lam signed a July 22 joint written statement to the UNHRC, “condemn[ing] Israel’s unlawful targeting of civilians,” which may “constitute grave violations of international humanitarian law and international criminal law and may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.” The statement calls on the UNHRC to “[c]ondemn the deliberate, systematic and widespread targeting of Palestinian civilians” and “[e]stablish an independent, international commission of inquiry with the mandate to identify and investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law committed within the context of Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip.”
3. Applied Research Institute Jerusalem Association (ARIJ) co-grantee: Land Research Center (Grant of €474,732 for 36 months)
“Advocating for a Sustainable and Viable Resolution of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”
- ARIJ and LRC were also co-beneficiaries of the Peacebuilding Initiative in its previous funding cycle (the called “Partnership for Peace”), with a project titled “Addressing Israeli Actions and its Land Policies in the oPt.”
- The EU-funded website launched by ARIJ and LRC as part of this project features blatant propaganda and allegations such as “Throughout the years of occupation of the Palestinian territory, Israel has engaged in excessive and disproportionate violations of every existing humanitarian code” (emphasis added) and refers to the Israel Defense Force as the “Israel occupation Forces.” This EU-funded website provides a platform for ARIJ and LRC’s distorted historical account, claiming that “The State of Israel was founded on approximately four-fifths of Palestine, taking more land than the United Nations’ 1947 Partition Plan had proposed,” and that “During and after the 1948 War, a transfer policy was carried out and four out of every five Palestinians in the area inside Israel became refugees.” This “historical” summary omits the context of an Arab rejection of the partition plan and an Arab-initiated war against Israel, and falsely alleges an Israeli “transfer policy.”
- ARIJ is among the leaders of the political warfare against Israel, seeking to further boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS), false accusations of Israeli “apartheid” and “racism,” and support for a Palestinian “right of return”, which is inconsistent with two-state solution.
- Employs attack rhetoric of “ethnic cleansing,” “transfer,” “land grab,” “colonialization activities” in publications and claims Israel guilty of “excessive and disproportionate violations of every existing humanitarian code.”
- Seeks to map “communities targeted by Israeli activities on the ground to help assess the magnitude of the occurred damages and derive conclusions” and “obtain visual illustration of changes and damages.” Joined Al-Mezan, Palestinian NGO Network, Badil, PCDCR, in a “Joint Call to Action: July 2014 – Month against the Apartheid Wall,” calling for “an intensified popular struggle and more boycotts, divestment and sanctions …. to overcome Israeli apartheid, colonialism and occupation. We ask you to expand and deepen the global BDS movement for justice…”