On June 30, 2020, the European Commission updated its Financial Transparency System (FTS) with details about grants to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) authorized in 2019.1
NGO Monitor’s analysis of this information shows that in 2019, the EU authorized 32 grants totaling €30.1 million for projects listed under “Palestine” and an additional 9 grants totaling €3.3 million for projects listed under “Israel” involving Israeli NGOs and human rights. Of these:
- At least 3 grants totaling €5.8 million involve Palestinian NGOs with ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), an EU-designated terrorist group. This is in addition to at least €31.2 million that the EU authorized in 2011-2018 to NGOs with ties to the PFLP. (See NGO Monitor’s report “EU Funding to Terror-Linked Palestinian NGOs Since 2011.”)
- Seven grants totaling €11.8 million for projects on Jerusalem; some are clearly related to the EU’s highly politicized “strategic approach”, namely the “urgent need to preserve the Palestinian identity of EJ (East Jerusalem).” Of note, one grant seeks to “protect Islamic and Christian Waqf2religious and cultural heritage properties against Israeli violations and threats.”
- Seven grants totaling €6 million claiming to advance peace or protect human rights. The Palestinian NGO grantees promote hateful antisemitic conspiracy theories and/or glorify terror.
- At least 3 grants totaling €1 million aim to directly to influence Israeli democracy. The EU supports highly politicized NGOs to influence Israeli public attitudes on the conflict, to lobby public officials, and to intervene in the legal system.
- The intended beneficiaries of EU funding to Israeli NGOs for human rights projects are mainly Palestinians (5 of 9 grants, totaling €1.87 million). With few exceptions, in 2019, the EU did not direct funds to tackle human rights issues affecting Israeli citizens.
- Relatedly, the overwhelming majority of funding to organizations claiming to promote human rights are for political initiatives related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (6 of 9 grants, totaling €2.47 million). This indicates that the EU views its engagement with human rights in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza strictly through the filter of the conflict, not an objective appraisal of a diverse range of human rights challenges.
- Many of the EU’s NGO grantees in 2019 have repeatedly received funding for similar projects, again illustrating the closed circle of funders and recipients.
Details on Grants to Terror-Linked Beneficiaries
In 2011-2019 (latest available data), the EU authorized grants of at least €37 million to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with ties to EU-designated terrorist groups. NGO Monitor has identified 31 grants, totaling €37.65 million in funds, provided to terror-tied NGOs, including the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC), Al-Dameer, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), Health Work Committees (HWC), Bisan Center, Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Al-Haq, Red Crescent Society for the Gaza Strip (RCS4GS), Society of St. Yves, Ma’an Development Center, and the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO). In some instances, the NGOs were founded by the PFLP itself. In others, PFLP members serve as staff, on the boards, and in key decision making and financial roles at the NGOs.
In 2019, the EU authorized at least three grants totaling €5.8 million involving Palestinian NGOs with ties to the PFLP:
Grant: “Community-led action for protection and resilience of children and youth affected by conflict and rights violations.”
- Numerous individuals with alleged ties to the PFLP terrorist organization have served as employees and as board members of DCI-P. (Read NGO Monitor’s report “Defense for Children International – Palestine’s Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”)
- In June 2018, in light of these PFLP links, Citibank and Arab Bank closed accounts belonging to DCI-P.
- In early February 2020, Belgium, which held the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council, invited DCI-P’s Senior Advisor for Policy and Advocacy to brief the Council. Following a public information campaign highlighting the terror links of the NGO and diplomatic protests by the Israeli government, Belgium rescinded the invitation. The evidence suggests that at the time of the invitation, Belgian officials did not properly vet the NGO and were unaware of the nature of its activities and its links to the PFLP organization.
- A DCI-P official claimed that the NGO refused EU funding as part of aPalestinian campaign to reject EU anti-terror regulations that prevent grantees from engaging with terrorist organizations. On September 22, 2020, DCI-P General Director Khaled Quzmar told the Turkish news agency Anadolu that DCI-P “has already refused to sign on conditional funding for a project for released child prisoners.” Quzmar added “We think that no fair trial was held before [formulating] the European terror lists. On the contrary, they are the result of a political decision as part of the Israeli pressure on the EU” (emphasis added).
- According to the PFLP, Ma’an Development Center employee Ahmad Abdallah Aladini was a “comrade” and a “member of the leadership of the PFLP in Deir al-Balah.” In 2018, Aladini was killed in the violence on the Gaza border.
- In May 2019, Ma’an’s Director General Sami Khader attended a memorial event organized by the PFLP that centered on PFLP political bureau member Rabah Muhanna, who, according to information posted by the PFLP, “contributed to the establishment” of several PFLP-affiliated NGOs, including Union of Health Workers Committees (UHWC), Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and Addameer. The hall was decorated with PFLP paraphernalia.
Grants: “Protection of marginalized communities in East Jerusalem through legal aid, planning, and advocacy;” “Secure Palestinian land and housing rights (SPLHR)”
Amount: €2,086,757 and €611,368, respectively
NGO of Concern Involved: Society of St. Yves
Raed Halabi, Society of St. Yves’ “head of the advocacy department,” was arrested several times and convicted for his activity in the PFLP terror organization: The NGO St. Yves reported that on May 22, 2017, Halabi was arrested by Israeli forces.
- According to Israeli court documents (on file with NGO Monitor), Halabi was arrested in May 2011 on suspicion of involvement in PFLP activities and membership in the terror organization.
- According to January 2005 Israeli court documents (on file with NGO Monitor), Halabi was a member of a PFLP terror cell who underwent military training and planned a shooting attack against Israeli forces.
- According to Electronic Intifada, Halabi was convicted in 2004 and sentenced to two years in Israeli prison.
- On June 29, 2020, Halabi published a Facebook post stating that “returning to the historical rules of the conflict is the only response to what is happening right now against our cause as a result of the Arab-Zionist-American-European conspiracy…We have to withdraw the recognition of what is called Israel, which is an illegal entity that was established by the logic of force and oppression, and will disappear only through the same logic, the logic of force and oppression. We must bring back the slogans of our revolution: no peace, no negotiation, no surrendering. We have to voice a clear “no” to those who impose humiliating conditions on us in exchange for a few millions [of dollars]. A prostitute remains a prostitute and if she raises the price of her prostitution, we should reject prostitution, not beautify it just because it generates some money for us… Should we give this occupation space to eliminate us? Is it a proper reward for the Shahids and the prisoners that they leave behind a people that justifies and accepts its compromising leaders?” (Emphasis added.)
Grant: “Protection and respect of the rights of vulnerable women and girls with and without disabilities survivors of GVB [Gender-Based Violence] in the Gaza strip.”
NGO of Concern Involved: Red Crescent Society for the Gaza Strip (RCS4GS)
- PFLP organizes events in the RCS4GS hall. For example:
- In February 2019, RCS4GS hosted a memorial service organized by the PFLP for Maher Yamani, a PFLP “founder” and a “member of the Central Committee and one of its most prominent military commanders.” Yamani “coordinated special operations…in particular the operation against an aircraft of the Israeli company El Al in July 1968 in Greece.” “Fighters” of the PFLP’s Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades and “civil society representatives” attended the event (see photo below).
- Several RCS4GS board members have served as members of the PFLP Central Committee and as board members of other PFLP-linked NGOs. For example:
- Bakr Abu Safiya is a RCS4GS board member. In February 2020, the PFLP referred to him as “a member of the Central Committee.”
- Tariq Abu al-Khair, a RCS4GS board member who served in 2016-2018 as the “Chairman of Board of Directors” of Union of Health Workers Committees (UHWC).
- UHWC is identified by Fatah as an official PFLP “affiliate” and by a 1993 USAID-engaged audit as “the PFLP’s health organization.” For more information on UHWC’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Union of Health Work Committees’ Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”
- UHWC regularly organized its annual general assembly meeting in the RCS4GS hall.
- Hashem Thalathini, RCS4GS’s “treasurer,” is listed as a board member of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR).
- The Gaza-based NGO claims to document “human rights abuses” and is one of the leaders in lobbying the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israeli officials. Multiple PCHR officials have ties to the PFLP, including its General Director Raji Sourani, who was publicly honored by the PFLP in 2014. (For more information read NGO Monitor’s report “Palestinian Centre for Human Right’s Links to the PFLP Terror Group.”)
Ongoing grants authorized by the EU prior to 2019
In addition to the three above-listed grants, it is noteworthy that at least three additional projects authorized by the EU prior to 2019, which also involve terror-linked Palestinian NGOs, are ongoing:
Amount/Period: €3.7 million/2017-2021
NGO of Concern Involved: Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)
According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, the project is implemented with the “technical cooperation” of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), a PFLP-linked organization. (Read NGO Monitor’s report “Union of Agricultural Work Committees Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”)
- In a response (June 10, 2020; on file with NGO Monitor) to a Freedom of Information Request submitted by NGO Monitor, the EU claimed that it “does not have any contract with UAWC, neither they are part of the description of the action annexed to the EU agreement with FAO. UAWC was selected as an implementing partner through a Call for Proposals organized by FAO in line with its own procedures.”
- In 2019, two senior UAWC employees responsible for the NGO’s finances were arrested and are currently standing trial for their membership in a PFLP terror cell responsible for an August 2019 bombing that murdered a 17-year old Israeli.
- Samer Arbid, UAWC accountant and previously UAWC “financial officer”: Samer Arbid is on trial for commanding a PFLP terror cell that carried out the bombing. According to the indictment against him (on file), Arbid prepared and detonated the explosive device. On August 30, 2020, the PFLP itself issued a press release confirming that Arbid is a PFLP “commander and one of the heroes of the heroic Ein Bubin operation,” referring to the August 2019 attack.
- Abdel Razeq Farraj, UAWC “Finance and Administration Director”: According to his indictment (on file), Razeq Farraj held a senior PFLP post and authorized the bombing. He is currently standing trial.
- Ubai Aboudi, apparently UAWC’s“M&E [Monitoring and Evaluation] Officer” until April 2019. In Abdel Razeq Farraj’s indictment (on file), Aboudi is referred to as a PFLP member who met with Farraj in September 2019, when Farraj told Aboudi to recruit additional members to the cell. In June 2020, Aboudi was sentenced to 12 months in prison.
Amount/Period: €296,600/March 2018- February 2021
NGO of Concern: Al-Haq
- Al-Haq’s General Director Shawan Jabarin has been associated with the PFLP. In 2007, the Israeli High Court referred to him as a “Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde, acting some of the time as the CEO of a human rights organization, and at other times as an activist in a terror organization.”
- In May 2019, Jabarin attended a memorial event organized by the PFLP that centered on PFLP political bureau member Rabah Muhanna, who, according to information posted by the PFLP, “contributed to the establishment” of several PFLP-affiliated NGOs, including Union of Health Workers Committees (UHWC), UAWC, and Addameer. The hall was decorated with PFLP paraphernalia.
Grant: “Torture is a humiliation of dignity”
Amount/Period: €261,914 / 2018-2021
NGOs of Concern Involved: PNGO
- PNGO is an umbrella framework with 142 NGO members based in Gaza and the West Bank, with ties to the PFLP (see our report “PNGO’s Ties to Palestinian Terror Groups”).
- Walid Hanatsheh (Abu Ras), Health Work Committees (HWC)’s finance and administration manager and a PNGO board member on behalf of HWC, is also on trial for allegedly leading PFLP “military” operations and commanding the PFLP terror cell that carried out the August 2019 bombing attack. According to the indictment against him, Hanatsheh bankrolled the bombing. Following his arrest, the PFLP labeled Hanatsheh a “leader in the Popular Front.”
- According to media reports, during a December 2019 meeting with EU officials,PNGO rejected the EU’s Anti-Terror Funding Requirement (Article 1.5 of “ANNEX II General conditions applicable to European Union-financed grant contracts for external actions”).
- In 2013, PNGO condemned the EU Partnership for Peace program for encouraging “normalization between Palestinian and Israeli civil society organizations.”
Projects involving grantees promoting antisemitism
In 2019, the EU authorized several projects aiming at advancing peace or protecting human rights that involve Palestinian NGOs that promote hateful antisemitic conspiracy theories. For example:
Grant: “Assessing the impediments before the two-state solution”
Project Description: “Contributing to the conditions for a sustainable resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in preparation for sustainable peace through identifying/analysing the impediments that stands against engaging fruitful negotiations and exploring manners to which breakthroughs and ultimately peaceful solutions to the conflict may be reached.”
NGO of Concern Involved: Land Research Center (LRC); Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ).
Land Research Center (LRC):
- LRC publishes hateful conspiracy theories in its materials:
- In 2018, LRC published an infographic timeline on the occasion of the “70th commemoration of the Palestinian Nakba,” featuring antisemitic, conspiratorial motifs.
- In the infographic’s legend, a caricature of an Ultra-Orthodox Jew represents “settlement” and an arm wearing a Star of David grabbing the land represents “confiscation.”
- The timeline promotes the conspiracy theory that in the 1907 Campbell conference, “Great Britain planned Israel in 1907 in order to destroy the Arab nation.” LRC describes this conference as an attempt to “implant an alien body at the heart of the Arab world, aiming to create division and civil war.” This conspiracy theory is illustrated with a dagger ornamented with a Star of David.
- In 2016, LRC published a statement headlined “Balfour Declaration …. and the ongoing conspiracy,” which declares that the declaration “placed a toxic dagger in Palestine that aims at restricting the advancement of the Arab Nation and disconnecting its east from its west.” (Emphasis added.) This statement also quotes a Palestinian scholar who referred to the Balfour Declaration as “a promise… [in which] those who did not deserve were given [land] by those who did not possess [it].”
- In 2018 and 2019, on the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, LRC posted on Facebook an infographic timeline with the same headline. Key dates include the 2003 US invasion in Iraq, the Arab Spring events (described by LRC as “the new Middle East peace plan [of] Peres and Rice”), and the intra-Palestinian division between the West Bank and Gaza.
- On February 24, 2020, LRC General Director Jamal Talab Al-Amleh published a blatantly antisemitic Facebook post, asking, “How many times will Palestinian Christ be crucified by rogue Jews on religions and humanity ..!?”
- Finally, LRC’s “Values & Principles” include the rejection of “any normalization activities with the occupation.”
- Note that in 2016, the EU authorized a €474,732 grant “advocating for a sustainable and viable resolution of Israeli-Palestinian conflict” implemented by both ARIJ and LRC.
- In 2019, as part of this project, ARIJ and LRC released a “Daily Report” that included classic antisemitic attacks on the Talmud in its rhetoric used against Israel. The report claimed that “over 250 settlers, stormed an archaeological site in Al-Jib village…and performed Talmudic rituals” and accused Jews of performing “Talmudic rituals in celebration of Jewish holidays” and performing “Talmudic rituals in the town.”
Projects involving grantees glorifying terror
Grant: “Qatari Mostaqubali (my decision is my future)”
Project Description: “Build capacity, promote tolerance and increase access for activists, political leaders, media institutions and communities around conflict resolution and peacebuilding processes that are strategic and inclusive of currently disenfranchised women and youth.”
NGO of Concern Involved: Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC)
In May 2017, WATC inaugurated a youth center for girls in the town of Burqa, near Nablus. As reported by Palestinian Media Watch, the center was named after Dalal Mughrabi, a terrorist who in 1978 murdered 37 civilians, including 12 children.
Funding for this building was provided by Norway, UN Women (United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women), and the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Local Government. Upon learning that the center had been named after a terrorist, the Norwegian government and the United Nations issued strong condemnations. Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende stated that “We have asked for the logo of the Norwegian representation office to be removed from the building immediately, and for the funding that has been allocated to the centre to be repaid.”
In the April 2020 edition of its “Voice of Women” magazine, WATC published an interview with the wife of the late Palestinian terrorist Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad). Abu Jihad was responsible for the 1978 “Coastal Road massacre” in which 38 Israeli civilians were murdered, including 13 children.
During the interview, WATC refers to Abu Jihad as “one of the leaders of the Palestinian revolution, whose last words were ‘no voice rises above the intifada‘” (emphasis added).
EU Funding of Politicized Projects
EU’s grants to NGOs in Jerusalem: “Protect the Palestinian identity of the city”
In 2018, the European Commission published its “annual action programme in favour of Palestine for 2018 (including one action on budget 2019 and 2020).” One aspect of the program, detailed in Annex 3, is “Support to East Jerusalem in 2018, 2019 and 2020,” for which the EU has adopted a “strategic approach to sustain the presence of the Palestinian population and protect the Palestinian identity of the city.”
Towards this goal, the EU prioritized the “protection of Palestinian heritage and culture as there is an urgent need to preserve the Palestinian identity of EJ, based on the restoration of historical sites in the Old City and the promotion of cultural life and activities in EJ.”
The EU further defined the protection of “Palestinian culture and heritage in East Jerusalem” as a strategic objective. According to the program, “this will be done through (i) preserving cultural and historical sites with a special focus on the Old City and the surrounding area, (ii) supporting cultural, arts and music activities, and co-ordination amongst cultural related organisations in the City; (iii) ensuring Palestinian cultural heritage remains in the curriculum.”
According to the EU, this is necessary to ensure that “the shrinking space for cultural organisations does not become too restricted for organisations to continue to operate (closing of Bank accounts, detaining staff/performers, shutting down activities while in performance, cancelling registration of organisations, etc,” and that “the Israeli Ministry of Antiquities does not completely further renovation works [sic].”
The political goals of this program are reflected in several grants, for implementation by NGOs, authorized by the EU in 2019. For example:
Grant: “Protecting Islamic and Christian cultural heritage in Jerusalem.”
Politicized NGOs Involved: PalVision; Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA).
Project Description: “To contribute to preserving the Palestinian character and cultural heritage of East Jerusalem (EJ) by strengthening the Palestinian identity and enhancing the sense of belonging among Palestinians. SO1: To protect Islamic and Christian Waqf religious and cultural heritage properties against Israeli violations and threats. SO2: To enhance Palestinians [sic] ability to identify and value their cultural heritage and have a good understanding of what can be done to protect their cultural heritage.” (Emphasis added.)
Several PalVision board members and employees regularly glorify violence, celebrate terrorists, and support discriminatory BDS campaigns. On December 26, 2019, Executive Director Naser Eddin told “Quds Press” that he rejects the EU terror requirement, “which prevents working with four different Palestinian party organizations” (emphasis added).
Grant: “Talim lil-Jamia: inclusive education intervention for east Jerusalem children.”
Politicized NGOs Involved: Terre des Hommes (TDH, Italian branch).
Project Description: “Contribute to preserve the Palestinian identity of occupied East Jerusalem. While promoting equity and inclusion adopting a rights-based approach, thus addressing the needs of Palestinian students and the overall young community of East Jerusalem (EJ), the project intends to contribute to improve the educational offer provided by the Awqaf system of EJ thus promoting its role as one of the main pillars to protect the Palestinian identity of EJ.” (Emphasis added.)
It is noteworthy that the project “inclusive education intervention for East Jerusalem children” implemented by TDH (Italy) has been funded three times by the EU in 2012-2019. The project description further indicates a politicization of the project:
- In 2016, the EU authorized a €1,193,000 grant for the project “inclusive education intervention for East Jerusalem children,” implemented by Terre des Hommes (Italy) and Al-Quds University.
- Project Description: “Contribute to the full enjoyment of the right to education for Palestinian children in East Jerusalem. Improve the quality of and increase access to basic education in East Jerusalem with an inclusive perspective.”
- According to Terre des Hommes (Italy), the project included the Palestinian politicized NGO Burj Luq-Luq Social Center Society.
- In 2012, the EU authorized a €1.5 million grant for the project “inclusive education intervention for East Jerusalem children,” implemented by Terre des Hommes (Italy).
- Project Description: “The project intends to intervene through activities implemented at three different levels: school, family and overall community – in support and for the improvement of the quality of education in a number of the EJ Awqaf schools.”
Jerusalem Awqaf school system
- The Awqaf school system is one of the primary frameworks for Palestinian students in Jerusalem. Awqaf schools are affiliated with the Palestinian Ministry of Education and use its curriculum. According to IMPACT-se,3 “The current Palestinian Authority curriculum4 taught in Awqaf schools is more radical than those previously taught…There is no evidence of a ‘rights-based approach,’ and there is the adoption of extreme and unacceptable teaching materials in the schools the EU is supporting.”
- One such example, directly relevant to the EU grant, is of “material in the 2019-20 Palestinian curriculum relating to preservation and protection of Palestinian identity.” Specifically, “Children are taught the libel that Israel carries out excavations under the Al-Aqsa Mosque to cause it to collapse. They watch a video in class on the subject. This dangerous myth has been the cause of considerable bloodshed (Islamic Education, Vol. 1, Grade 5, 2019, p. 98).”
Grants to Israeli NGOs
Two EU grants for Israeli NGOs – “Safeguarding the indigenous heritage in public spaces” with Emek Shaveh and The Arab Culture Association, and “Decision 3790: maximising its opportunities and countering its harmful effects to realise socioeconomic rights in East Jerusalem” with Ir Amim and Workers Advice Center – appear to be linked, at least in part, to the same European agenda.
The PFLP terror group echoes the EU narrative on Jerusalem
In July 2020, Israeli security forces arrested several directors of Palestinian cultural institutions in Jerusalem, suspected of “money laundering, funding terrorism and tax evasion.” In response, on July 26, 2020, the PFLP published a statement that “calls upon the European Union to stop participating in the Zionist crime against Jerusalem.”
Echoing the EU’s “strategy” on Jerusalem (see above), the statement affirms that “the rabid Zionist campaign against Jerusalem’s culture and art institutions and centers is part of the wide-scale attack aimed at Judaizing the city, abolishing its Arab features, and a desperate attempt to strike at the Palestinian narrative, culture and national identity,” and that “this ongoing Zionist crime in the city of Jerusalem is the most striking example of the fascist racism of the Zionist entity, which targets Islamic and Christian holy sites, as well as all of the Palestinian national heritage that constitutes the features of the city of Jerusalem” (Emphasis added.)
EU funding to projects that aim to directly influence Israeli democracy
The EU regularly funds and supports highly politicized NGOs for projects seeking to influence Israeli public attitudes on the conflict, to lobby public officials, and to intervene in the legal system. For example, in 2018, the EU provided the Israeli NGO Morashtenu with €498,461 for “promoting the settlement of the conflict and changing public opinion among Russian speaking Israelis.” According to the EU, this ongoing project (2018-2021) intends “to promote conditions for a negotiated settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and potential shifts in public opinion among the Russian-speaking community by building confidence and trust in the two-state solution among a population that has traditionally rejected and been omitted from the process, as well as to deconstruct a negative view of the Palestinian narrative” (emphasis added).
2019 grants include:
Grant: “Democratizing Israeli democracy: accountable, transparent, inclusive and participatory governance, and respect for human rights in Israel.”
Project Description: “Overall objective: To enhance the democratic foundations of Israel through accountable, transparent, inclusive and participatory governance, and respect for human rights. SO1: To ensure national institutions, laws and policies comply with the rule of law, human rights, equality, and respect for and protection of minorities. SO2: To strengthen capacities of human rights defenders, activists and media actors to access information, organize and advocate policy change and obtain redress.”
(In 2018-2020, the EU also provided ACRI with €299,988 for “eradicating racism and discrimination in Israel through government compliance with decision 2254(ETP/16).” The objective of the project was “to eradicate institutionalized discrimination in Israeli national and local government bodies and law enforcement agencies,” by overseeing the Israel government decision 2254 (ETP/16), which aims at “address[ing] criticisms of police behavior toward Israelis of Ethiopian descent and to improve its relations with that community.”)
Grant: “Closing the confidence gap: restoring the viability of the two state solution.”
NGO Involved: Molad
Project Description: “Overall objective: To promote conditions for a negotiated settlement of the conflict based on the two-state solution, by shifting prevailing attitudes and stances of a key constituency in Israeli society partition sceptics.”
In addition to the two grants above, it is noteworthy that in 2020, the EU reactivated the controversial grant, “The Creation of the Freedom Protection Council: Ensuring democratic space for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Israel,” which was halted in 2018, and is expected to disburse the remaining amount of €165,841 by 2021.In 2018, the Israeli website Mida exposed that the project, implemented by the Israeli NGO Il’am Arab Center for Media Freedom Development and Research, was clearly political in nature, as I’lam and its partners aimed to “act in the Knesset and public sphere in order to form public and political coalitions whose aim will be to prevent legislation that harms freedoms and advances [legislation] that promotes them.” In July 2020, the EU stated that “the contract entitled ‘The Creation of the Freedom Protection Council: Ensuring Democratic Space for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Israel’ was suspended by the Delegation in order to clarify certain contractual obligations. The contractor undertook the necessary adaptations, and the EU will continue, as is our practice, to closely monitor. The contract is one of the EU grants supporting CSO engagement in the policymaking process.”
EU funding to Israeli NGOs – for Palestinians
While the EU has allocated €3.3 million for projects involving Israeli NGOs that claim to advance human rights, this funding is another conduit for providing funds for projects that benefit Palestinians and advance the Palestinian narrative.
Grant: “A symbiotic relationship in the West Bank: holding Israeli authorities accountable for settler violence.”
Project Description: “To increase duty bearer accountability by providing strategic and objective information and analysis on settler violence to key stakeholders in order to act to increase respect for HR and IHL.”
One of the sub-objectives of the grant (on file with NGO Monitor) is to “expose international and Israeli decision-makers and the public to the HR violations perpetrated by settlers against Palestinians.”
Grant: “Dignity in work: upholding labour rights for Palestinian workers employed in Israel.”
Amount: € 298,514
NGOs Involved: ACRI and Kav Laoved
Project Description: “The overall objective of the Action is to promote and ensure the fair and dignified employment of Palestinian workers in Israel by upholding their labour rights as guaranteed by Israeli labour law and Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Grant: “Decision 3790: maximising its opportunities and countering its harmful effects to realise socioeconomic rights in East Jerusalem.”
NGOs Involved: Ir Amim and Workers Advice Center.
Project Description: “To hold Israel as the occupying power accountable to respect, protect and fulfil the socioeconomic rights of the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem (EJ). Specific objectives: To maximise implementation by Israeli duty bearers of Government Decision 3790 for Narrowing Socioeconomic Gaps and Promoting Economic Development in East Jerusalem in a transparent, non-discriminatory and fair manner for the benefit of all EJ residents, in and beyond the Separation Barrier.”
Near exclusive focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
EU funding to Israeli NGOs, even for projects ostensibly to promote Israeli human rights, is almost exclusively aimed at addressing conflict-linked issues. This reflects the EU’s myopic and unidimensional approach to Israeli society.
Grant: “Safeguarding the indigenous heritage in public spaces.”
NGOs Involved: Emek Shaveh and The Arab Culture Association.
Project Description: “To combat discrimination against the Arab communities in the public space of Israel, to demand the historical heritage rights of minority groups in Israel, and to foster an Israeli historical landscape that fully represents its multifaceted heritage.”
Grant: ‘Unblocking the future’: cultivating a culture of trust among Israelis and Palestinians.”
NGOs Involved: Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHR-I); The Seventh Eye; Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP).
While PHR-I and GCMHP are medical NGOs, it is unclear why the Seventh Eye was selected for participation in this project.5 The organization describes itself as an “independent and investigative magazine devoted entirely to Journalism, the Media, Freedom of Speech and Transparency.” It is unclear how the EU intends for this NGO to contribute to “the positive engagement and professional cooperation of Palestinians and Israelis, enhancing health.”
Summary of Grants involving Palestinian NGOs
|“East Jerusalem youth: agents of change”||“The specific objectives of the action provides [sic] innovative youth -friendly and safe platforms, which are instrumental to their ability to represent and reflect youth visions in addressing EJ issues and IHL -IHRL breaches in EJ and the rest of the oPt. As well as targeted community members are mobilized to participate and contribute to fulfil their economic, political, cultural and social rights.”||€4,987,500||Palestinian Vision (PalVision, or “Ruya”); Masar Ibrahim al-Khalil; The Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA); Afkar Production Company; DanChurchAid|
|“Thaqafa Daayer Maydoor (All-Around Culture)”||“The project’s main objective is to foster a thriving cultural ecosystem as an enabling environment for the political, social and economic inclusion of young people and least favored segments of the population across Europe’s Southern Neighbourhood.”||€4 million||A. M. Qattan Foundation and three other foreign recipients|
|“Promotion of inclusive agricultural growth to ensure improved living standards and resilience of vulnerable communities in Area C of the West Bank”||“Contribute to resilient and inclusive agricultural growth that improves the living standards of women and men farmers in Area C of the West Bank. Specific objective: Increase the income of small-scale women and men farmers and the protection and the use of their lands in Area C through upgraded capacities, improved land and water management practices and policies.”||€3.8 million||Oxfam Solidarité; Rural Women's Development Society; Palestinian Farmers Union; Economic and Social Development Center of Palestine (ESDC)|
|“Connecting the dots: research and policy making on economic development, security and migration in the southern neighborhood and beyond”||“The main objective of the project is to contribute to increased awareness, as well as regional and national evidence-based policy making on priority areas of the ENP South (economic development, security and migration). The project aims to achieve this through the accomplishment of its specific objectives, which is to stimulate research-policy dialogues on ENP priority areas through tailor made evidence-based research, enhanced multi-stakeholders cooperation, increased research capacities, and holistic outreach and dissemination.”||€2.5 million||PALThink for Strategic Studies and 12 other foreign recipients|
|“Community-led action for protection and resilience of children and youth affected by conflict and rights violations”||“Community-led action for protection and resilience of children and youth affected by conflict and rights violations”||€2,441,589||Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P); Ma’an Develoment Center; YMCA; Rädda Barnen|
|“Protection of marginalized communities in East Jerusalem through legal aid, planning, and advocacy”||“To support the marginalized Palestinian communities of East Jerusalem, increase their resilience, prevent forcible transfer and reinforce the Palestinian identity of East Jerusalem. Specific objectives: 1. To challenge the Israeli policies targeting the marginalized Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem, reduce their impact, and empower those targeted communities through legal aid and advocacy 2. To document, challenge and ultimately transform Israeli policies and me [sic].”||€2,086,757||Society of St. Yves; Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC); Land Research Center (LRC); Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC); Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (CCPRJ)|
|“Talim lil-Jamia: inclusive education intervention for east Jerusalem children”||“Contribute to preserve the Palestinian identity of occupied East Jerusalem. While promoting equity and inclusion adopting a rights-based approach, thus addressing the needs of Palestinian students and the overall young community of East Jerusalem (EJ), the project intends to contribute to improve the educational offer provided by the Awqaf system of EJ thus promoting its role as one of the main pillars to protect the Palestinian identity of EJ. The contribution to the [sic].”||€1,897,650||Jerusalem Autistic Child Care Organization; Terre des Hommes Italy|
|“Supporting resilience through dialogue”||“Supporting resilience through dialogue”||€1,308,411||Masarat - The Palestinian Center for Policy Research & Strategic Studies; Crisis Management Initiative|
|“Protecting Islamic and Christian cultural heritage in Jerusalem”||“To contribute to preserving the Palestinian character and cultural heritage of East Jerusalem (EJ) by strengthening the Palestinian identity and enhancing the sense of belonging among Palestinians. SO1: To protect Islamic and Christian Waqf religious and cultural heritage properties against Israeli violations and threats. SO2: To enhance Palestinians [sic] ability to identify and value their cultural heritage and have a good understanding of what can be done to protect their cultural heritage.”||€1,184,538||PalVision; Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA); ACT For Alternative Dispute Resolution And Studies|
|“Lawyers' community development in the west bank and the Gaza strip”||“The overall goal is to consolidate training and service delivery for lawyers in a harmonised manner for both West Bank and Gaza Strip and the specific objectives are: i) To consolidate and extend harmonised training programmes for young lawyers across the West Bank and Gaza; ii) To reinforce institutional cohesion by enhancing PBA's management system; iii) To develop communication tools and standards ensuring equal dissemination of legal information.”||€999,814||Palestinian Bar Association|
|“International higher education capacity building: enhancement of clinical nutrition and dietetic practice in Palestine”||-||€936,429||El-Wafa Charitable Society and six other recipients|
|“Emergency housing rehabilitation for women headed households and vulnerable families in east Jerusalem and Jerusalem governorate.”||“The overall objective of this project is to respond to the immediate housing unit needs and protection of vulnerable populations in EJ and Area C of Jerusalem Governorate through self-help approach for the highly-vulnerable families by providing housing unit repairs and transitional housing unit solutions in order to meet the specific objectives.”||€927,939||Palestinian Housing Council (PHC)|
|“EU aid volunteers deployment: EU aid volunteers support humanitarian action for resilience and empowerment.”||“The project focuses on the goal of Strengthening Capacities of Hosting Organizations in the perspective of Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development. For this purpose the project is designed to support Non EU partners in their ability to prepare, manage and evaluate interventions aimed at supporting the local communities in recovering from natural or man-made disasters and resilience building."||€799,939||Human Supporters Association and 10 other foreign recipients|
|“Music for peace: Palestinian youth promoting peace, tolerance and nonviolence in the Gaza strip.”||“The overall objective of this action is to empower Palestinian youth to actively promote values and culture of peace and non-violence in the Gaza Strip.”||€750,000||Save Youth Future Society|
|“Assessing the impediments before the two-state solution”||“Contributing to the conditions for a sustainable resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in preparation for sustainable peace through identifying/analysing the impediments that stands against engaging fruitful negotiations and exploring manners to which breakthroughs and ultimately peaceful solutions to the conflict may be reached.”||€700,000||Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ); LRC|
|“Unity and diversity in nature and in society”||“The intervention promotes joint Israeli-Palestinian actions focused on the sustainability of human and natural systems valuing diversity (agricultural, human, natural) to increases respect for each other and the [sic] nature.”||€679,688||The Palestinian center for Rapprochement between People; The Galilee Society – The Arab National Society for Health, Research and Services; Bethlehem University|
|“Towards better promotion and protection of human rights in Area C and Gaza strip.”||“The Palestinian Civil Society Organizations in Southern West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza contribute in enhancing just and fair access to and control over water resources in accordance with international human rights treaties and conventions.”||€649,998||ARIJ; Palestinian Child's Club - Youth Development Resource Center; Women Media and Development (TAM)|
|“Protection and respect of the rights of vulnerable women and girls with and without disabilities survivors of GBV in the Gaza strip.”||“To promote protection and respect of the rights of vulnerable women and girls with and without disabilities survivors of GBV based on IHL and IHRL.”||€648,000||Red Crescent Society for the Gaza Strip (RCS4GS); Qatar Red Crescent; Women's Affairs Center Gaza|
|“Building an infrastructure for peace and reconciliation.”||“To promote the conditions for a negotiated settlement of the conflict and to maintain the viability of the Two-State Solution.”||€628,319||Palestinian Peace Coalition Geneva Initiative; H.L. Education for Peace|
|“Secure Palestinian Land And Housing Rights (SPLHR).”||“To contribute to the resilience, steadfastness and promotion of basic human rights of Palestinians in the West Bank SO: By 2023, improved access of vulnerable communities in (Tubas, Jericho and Ramallah) to legal assistance essential for defending land and housing rights”||€611,368||LRC; Society of St. Yves|
|“Our path for prospers future - promote Palestinian - Israeli women leadership in southern of west bank and Negev marginalized and Bedouin communities”||“The overall objective is to enable the environment of lasting for peace between Palestinians and the Israelis through women grassroots leadership interventions.SO1: Empower Bedouin Women Protection Committees (BWPCs) in southern Bedouin communities in West Bank and Negev Bedouins in Israel, to nominate qualified women to run the existing councils in Israel and establish ones in the southern West Bank.SO2: Strengthening mechanisms of dialogue, networking, and accountability with both gender.”||€600,000||Roles for Social Change Association-ADWAR|
|“Working together as agents for change: towards the protection and promotion of women's human rights”||“Contribute to the promotion and protection of women human rights in the Palestinian society through the development of a national conducive legal environment and enhancement of the international accountability towards higher protection of Palestinian women. Specific Objectives: 1. Increased capacity of CBOs and their communities in Area C and the Seam zone to engage in favor of womens [sic] rights and to provide a platform for the promotion of access to justice for women- victims.”||€578,442||Miftah; WCLAC|
|“From dialogue to action: cross-border cooperation as a means to peacebuilding”||“The project aims at contributing to a sustainable resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by empowering Palestinians and Israelis to work together to improve the lives of West Bank Palestinians and promoting cross-border cooperation. Through this action, the partners aim to create groups of people who will utilize new skills to implement tangible socio-environmental change and pursue policy transformations at the local and national level.”||€544,353||Holy Land Trust; Dead Sea and Arava Science Center|
|“Enhancing Israeli-Palestinian cross-border cooperation through agricultural development”||“To enhance and sustain Israeli-Palestinian cross-border agricultural cooperation, in support of preserving the viability of the two-state solution, by encouraging business-to-business relationships and exchange around issues of mutual interest and concern.”||€541,454||Flower and Vegetable Charity Association; Thinnabeh Cultural and Sports Club; The Economic Cooperation Foundation|
|“Qatari Mostaqubali (my decision is my future)”||“Build capacity, promote tolerance and increase access for activists, political leaders, media institutions and communities around conflict resolution and peacebuilding processes that are strategic and inclusive of currently disenfranchised women and youth.”||€500,000||Women's Affairs Technical Committee (WATC); Assistance to Women and Girls against Violence; Care Norge|
|“Israelis meet Palestinians in agribusiness and trade cooperation (impact)”||“IMPACT will contribute to the EU commitment to a just and comprehensive resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the two-state solution. For that purpose, IMPACT recognizes the asymmetry between the Palestinians and Israelis in various aspects, and selected activities in which significant accomplishments could be achieved in order to decrease this asymmetry. The overall objective of this project is to enhance the economic cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis through buil[sic].”||€400,000||Palestinian Center for Agriculture Research and Development; Galilee College|
|“CEDAW implementation in Jerusalem”||“To enhance the protection of Palestinian women's rights living under occupation in EJ. This comes within the framework of the limited implementation of CEDAW in Jerusalem, and lack of protection measures for Palestinian women living in Jerusalem where ambiguity prevails in concern to the responsible party to ensure the implementation of CEDAW. This comprises on protection of women and girls and enjoyment of basic rights in Jerusalem.”||€279,895||Miftah; Kayan-Feminist Organization|
|“Capacity building : E-learning for youth empowerment”||-||€56,274||Bait Byout|
|“International higher education capacity building: reinforcing access to cross border employment at Palestinian higher education institutions”||-||€44,716||Women's Centre for Legal Aid & Counselling Association|
Summary of Grants involving Israeli NGOs
|“'Unblocking the future': cultivating a culture of trust among Israelis and Palestinians”||“A negotiated solution to the conflict remains viable thanks to the positive engagement and professional cooperation of Palestinians and Israelis enhancing health, particularly women's health and mental health.”||€680,227||Physicians for Human Rights Israel; The Seventh Eye; Gaza Community Mental Health Programme|
|“Closing the confidence gap: restoring the viability of the two state solution.”||“To promote conditions for a negotiated settlement of the conflict based on the two-state solution, by shifting prevailing attitudes and stances of a key constituency in Israeli society partition sceptics.”||€600,000||Molad|
|“Democratizing Israeli democracy: accountable, transparent, inclusive and participatory governance, and respect for human rights in Israel.”||“To enhance the democratic foundations of Israel through accountable, transparent, inclusive and participatory governance, and respect for human rights. SO1: To ensure national institutions, laws and policies comply with the rule of law, human rights, equality, and respect for and protection of minorities. SO2: To strengthen capacities of human rights defenders, activists and media actors to access information, organize and advocate policy change and obtain redress.”||€299,988||Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI); Human Rights Defenders Fund (HRDF); Movement for Freedom of Information|
|“A symbiotic relationship in the west bank: holding Israeli authorities accountable for settler violence.”||“To increase duty bearer accountability by providing strategic and objective information and analysis on settler violence to key stakeholders in order to act to increase respect for HR and IHL.”||€299,988||B'Tselem; Breaking the Silence (BtS)|
|“Decision 3790: maximising its opportunities and countering its harmful effects to realise socioeconomic rights in East Jerusalem.”||“To hold Israel as the occupying power accountable to respect, protect and fulfil the socioeconomic rights of the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem (EJ).Specific objectives: : To maximise implementation by Israeli duty bearers of Government Decision 3790 for Narrowing Socioeconomic Gaps and Promoting Economic Development in East Jerusalem in a transparent, non-discriminatory and fair manner for the benefit of all EJ residents, in and beyond the Separation Barrier.”||€299,977||Ir Amim; Workers Advice Center|
|“Dignity in work: upholding labour rights for Palestinian workers employed in Israel”||“The overall objective of the Action is to promote and ensure the fair and dignified employment of Palestinian workers in Israel by upholding their labour rights as guaranteed by Israeli labour law and Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Specific Objective 1: Identify and address rights violations on an individual and systematic level through legal action and advocacy. Specific Objective 2: Raise awareness and build capacity among Palestinian workers employed in Israel to [sic]”||€298,514||ACRI; Kav Laoved|
|“Safeguarding the indigenous heritage in public spaces”||“To combat discrimination against the Arab communities in the public space of Israel, to demand the historical heritage rights of minority groups in Israel, and to foster an Israeli historical landscape that fully represents its multifaceted heritage.”||€292,091||Emek Shaveh; The Arab Culture Association|
|“Protection from violence as a basic human right: enlisting state responsibility in the struggle against violence against women and girls”||“To secure the commitment of the State of Israel to a comprehensive program of eliminating violence against women and girls (VAWG) in Israel.”||€297,790||Assistance to Women and Girls Against Violence; Moasat Hadanet Alnasra – Nazareth Nurseries Association; The Israel Women's Network|
|“Safe communities: Jewish-Arab mixed cities”||-||€290,586||The Abraham Initiatives|
Summary of Grants involving International NGOs
|Grant||Amount||NGO Beneficiaries of Concern|
|“The European Union human rights defenders mechanism: protectdefenders.EU”||€15 million||FIDH: International Federation of Human Rights|
|“The EU emergency fund for human rights defenders at risk”||€3.3 million||FIDH|
|“Humanitarian support to Palestinians at risk of forcible transfer in the West Bank”||€3.3 million||Norwegian Refugee Council|
- Most of the grants authorized in 2019 will run for 36 months, and are therefore ongoing as of August 2020.
- The Jerusalem Islamic Waqf controls and manages Islamic sites on and around the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, including Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.
- IMPACT-se (The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education) is an independent research center specializing in the analysis of textbooks and educational curricula.
- In May 2020, The European Parliament condemned the Palestinian failure to remove hate and violence in textbooks
- Following the publication of this report, The Seventh Eye contacted NGO Monitor and claimed that “although we were awarded the grant at the time, it was frozen because of corona and we did not receive a shekel…we announced that we will withdraw from the grant, and we will not receive a shekel in the future” (on file with NGO Monitor; translated from Hebrew). NGO Monitor contacted the EU, which responded, “we confirm that, as indicated in FTS [Financial Transparency System], the Israeli organisation “Haayin Hashevi’it -Independent, Investigative and Free Journalism” is an Israeli co-beneficiary of the contract” (on file with NGO Monitor).