On October 22, 2021, the Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) designated 6 Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations.  According to the MoD, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Al-Haq, Addameer, Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC), and Bisan were included on Israel’s list of terrorist organizations because they are operated by and for the benefit of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), designated as a terrorist organization by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel.1 (A seventh PFLP-linked organization – Health Workers Committee (HWC) – was designated in January 2020)

The MoD repeated the ISA (Shabak) May 2021 press release in explaining that these NGOs diverted humanitarian funds from European donors to the PFLP and recruited members into the terror group.  Relatedly, a security official told Israel’s N12 news site on October 23 that these NGOs provided a funding “lifeline” for the PFLP, employed PFLP terrorists, and that PFLP terror operatives used NGO offices for meetings.

In addition, since 2007, NGO Monitor has published numerous reports, based on open sources, documenting the close connections between these and other Palestinian NGOs and the PFLP.

These links were further highlighted following the arrest of PFLP officials charged with the August 26, 2019 bombing that murdered Israeli 17 year-old Rina Shnerb, and wounded her father and brother. Samer Arbid- who served as UAWC’s accountant at the time of his 2019 arrests and as Addameer’s accountant until at least 2015 was indicted on 21 counts, including for commanding the cell that carried out the attack.

PFLP response

The PFLP condemned the MoD designation, with PFLP Politburo member Kayed Al-Ghoul stressing “that the Palestinian people are proud of the affiliation of any of their sons to any national faction that resists the occupation, and in this context, whoever belongs to the Popular Front is a source of great pride and honor for him.”

Similarly, the PFLP has often defended these organizations, highlighting its connection to them.  It has identified leading officials at these NGOs as PFLP members, including those accused of murdering an Israeli civilian in an August 2019 bombing.

Hours after the IDF confiscated computers and documents from DCI-P and Bisan on July 29, 2021, “The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine renewed its demand to confront the continuing Zionist violations against the active Palestinian civil institutions.”

In an August 26, 2019 bombing, a PFLP cell murdered Israeli 17 year-old Rina Schnerb, and wounded her father and brother. On August 30, 2020, the PFLP referred to Samer Arbid as a “prisoner and commander,” and “one of the heroes of the Bubeen operation” — referring to the bombing.

Notably, representatives from Al-Haq, UAWC, Addameer, UPWC, and Bisan participated in a May 2019 PFLP gathering in Ramallah – including Arbid and other NGO officials detained in connection to the August 2019 attack.

Until 2015, the PFLP’s English website promoted DCI-P, Addameer, and UPWC, and directed visitors to their own websites. (See Appendix II)

Investigations and funding freezes

In August 2021, it was revealed that the EU’s anti-fraud mechanism, OLAF, launched a terror-financing investigation into EU support for Palestinian NGOs. This follows a July 2020 decision by the Dutch government to suspend funding to UAWC and launch its own investigation into UAWC terror ties. Also Additionally, in May 2020, EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi stated that he had instructed the heads of the EU delegations to Israel and the West Bank/ Gaza to “look deep[ly]” into allegations that some EU funds go to terror-linked or terror-supporting NGOs, declaring that such funding “will not be tolerated.” 

Likewise, multiple financial institutions previously closed accounts and denied payment services to these NGOs. In 2018, Citibank and Arab Bank closed DCI-P accounts, and Visa, Mastercard, and American Express shut down online credit card donations to Al-Haq and UAWC.

Appendix I: PFLP NGO Network Funders through 2021-2023

A number of European national and local governments, and other international donors have funded some of the newly designated terrorist organizations, through 2021-2023:







Appendix II: PFLP website

Screenshot of PFLP website in English, which links to DCI-P, Addameer, UPWC, and HWC websites (November 5, 2015) (https://www.ngo-monitor.org/nm/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/PFLP-Website_fixed.png)