According to Phoenix, it “is an independent Palestinian non-profit institution established in correspondence to its responsibility towards Palestinian communities to fulfil their political, economic and social needs…” The center aims at “Supporting all actors and decision-makers with accurate economic, social and political studies…Conducting surveys, public opinion polls, and studies analyzing social and economic policies, and providing advice on them to decision makers and the concerned authorities, independently and impartially, far from any agenda or ideology.”
State Department Funding
According to USAspending.gov (a US government website that catalogs Federal grants), the State Department is providing $30,088 to the Phoenix Center for Research and Field Studies in Gaza for an August 2023-July 2024 project and an additional $60,000 for a September 2023-August 2024 project.1
The project description for the project beginning in August 2023 states: “The project team has developed clear, measurable objectives to develop the IT skills, raise the awareness of IT trends, and provide networking opportunities with IT employers in Europe and Asia for target audiences.” This description appears to be unrelated to Phoenix’s activity, raising the possibility that an unrelated grant description was associated with Phoenix.
The project description for the project beginning in September 2023 states: “This project aims to develop and enhance the knowledge and skills of Palestinian USG alumni in public speaking, storytelling, and digital networking. The program activities further promote diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.” The term “USG alumni” likely refers to individuals who had participated in US government-funded and -organized training or enrichment programs.
Cooperating with terrorists and supporting terror
On Phoenix’s website, the organization reports on several conferences and panels it has hosted during which it supported “armed resistance” against Israel – a euphemism for terrorism.2 Several senior members of Palestinian terrorist organizations have participated in these events.
- On December 13, 2022, the center hosted a discussion on “Tactical management and strategic building by the factions [i.e., terror groups]. The approaches of open conflict with the occupation authorities in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Which political agendas are required for the current conflict and its future?”
According to Phoenix, participants in the discussion concluded that “the priorities of future agendas must include the need to reintegrate armed resistance and popular resistance,” adding that “armed resistance and non-violent resistance…are supposed to be integrated, viewing both as essential tools of the conflict with the occupation” (emphases added).
- During a November 9, 2022 Phoenix-organized symposium on “National horizons for resistance actions in the [West] Bank and their repercussions on the Palestinian-Israel conflict,” Phoenix’s Director of Programs Salah Abdalati expressed support for newly-founded terrorist cells in the West Bank, referencing “The joy created by the phenomena of the Lions’ Den, the [Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s] Jenin battalion and the Nablus Battalion.” He argued that Palestinians are tasked with “creating an equation that could operate resistance actions according to the circumstances of every arena.”
- On September 27, 2022, Phoenix reported that it held a workshop titled “strengthening the concept of civil peace, rule of law and the importance of national dialogue,” as part of its “development of youth capabilities” project, funded by the European Endowment for Democracy (EED). The workshop was held in a room fully dedicated to honoring the US and EU-designated terrorist organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). It featured PFLP flags, posters of terrorists, and graffiti praising the terror organization.
Phoenix held a workshop in a room decorated with PFLP flags, posters of terrorists, and graffiti praising the terror organization. (Sources: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=pfbid02sN2TzsvN8qtEPEGFCCfR9w9tevobZoCbA5RmUbUDxWu6xLyTQyprhkHRDvY94XVal&id=100079550763081; https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=pfbid0jeA2axenKpw6Xk5HUVUtYjBrNZeEwmD4xEVm8WygLL9ESNGgN1gNM7Dse3bLRtTQl&id=100004506589208)
On September 19, 2022, Phoenix held a discussion on “The links between the PA and the occupation – between paralysis and division.” Among the participants was senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) member Khader Habib and the discussion focused on Palestinian terrorism – euphemistically referred to as “resistance” – and the need to increase it.3
During the discussion, “Participants emphasized the importance of this wave of resistance action,” and “that the viable Palestinian choice of confronting the occupation’s threats requires continued resistance action until achieving a third intifada” (emphases added).
They also noted that “the security coordination between the PA and the occupation…poses a real danger to resistance actions.”
Senior PIJ member Khader Habib, circled in red, participating in a Phoenix discussion on “The connection between the PA and the occupation – between paralysis and division.” (Source: https://phoenix-center.ps/case/%d9%85%d8%b1%d9%83%d8%b2-%d9%81%d9%8a%d9%86%d9%8a%d9%82-%d9%84%d9%84%d8%a8%d8%ad%d9%88%d8%ab-%d9%8a%d9%86%d8%b8%d9%85-%d8%ac%d9%84%d8%b3%d8%a9-%d8%ad%d9%88%d8%a7%d8%b1%d9%8a%d8%a9-%d8%ad%d9%88%d9%84/)
- In July 2022, Phoenix reported that the NGO hosted a discussion on “The dimensions and repercussions of US President Biden’s visit regarding the Palestinian issue.” Participants included senior PIJ members Mohammed Shalah, Khader Habib, Ahmed Al-Mudallal, and Khaled Al-Batsh, and senior PFLP member Mohammed Al-Ghoul (see Appendix A). At the meeting, PIJ’s Habib noted, “Biden’s visit is meant to serve the Zionist enemy and to open closed doors for it in order to spread geographically, so that all the Arab region will become permissible for the Zionist enemy….” Al-Batsh added, “the alliance that they want to build is meant to annihilate the Palestinian cause.”
Top: Circled in red, left to right: PIJ senior member Khader Habib, Director of Phoenix Nasser Alioua, President of Phoenix Khaled Al-Yazji, PIJ senior member Khaled Al-Batsh, Phoenix Director of Programs Salah Abdalati, and PFLP senior member Omar Shaban. Bottom: Circled in red, left to right: PIJ senior members Khader Habib, Mohammed Shalah, Ahmed al-Mudallal (Sources: https://phoenix-center.ps/case/%d8%a3%d8%a8%d8%b9%d8%a7%d8%af-%d9%88%d8%aa%d8%af%d8%a7%d8%b9%d9%8a%d8%a7%d8%aa-%d8%b2%d9%8a%d8%a7%d8%b1%d8%a9-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%b1%d8%a6%d9%8a%d8%b3-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%a3%d9%85%d8%b1%d9%8a%d9%83%d9%8a/; https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=pfbid02HBrz6TUtEBt7UMwiWEZRumn98je9H4MLFG6b8DSUTRpBQkt7qTTuALa1Ej5KEMgfl&id=100079550763081)
- On May 29, 2022, Phoenix reported that the NGO hosted a discussion on “Developments and changes in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.” During the discussion, “participants emphasized the need to redefine the armed resistance and define its tasks in a framework of total conflict with the occupation, using various tools and methods that will redistribute the fighting forces according to the conditions and segments of all the groups [i.e., terror groups] of the Palestinian people…” (emphasis added).
In addition to Phoenix’s support for “resistance” and its cooperation with members of terrorist organizations, Director of Programs Salah Abdalati has demonstrated his own support for terror factions, their members, and “armed resistance”:
- On May 13, 2023, following the May 2023 conflict between Israel and PIJ, Abdalati wrote, “Salutations and appreciation to the resistance and especially to its spearhead in this round, the [PIJ’s Al-Quds] Brigades that stood firm and steadfast with the rest of the factions…and was an armor and sword. We will keep up with the evaluations and preparations in order to continue the ongoing struggle and combat the Israeli occupation’s crimes in order to raise its price…by escalating resistance and popular pressure that will lead to a total intifada.”
- On February 24, 2023, Abdalati wrote, “Symbolic and popular resistance, in all its forms, whether its…going on strike, mutiny, marches, confronting occupation forces…or escalating armed resistance, or other forms and methods of ingenuitive combat, must strengthen in various Palestinian communities so that resistance becomes a way of life (emphasis added).
- On August 7, 2022, Abdalati wrote that Israel “is the state which most of its citizens have become as the ISIS of this generation…There is no choice but steadfastness and resistance against the occupation, and it is a right and a duty of a nation under occupation…The relationship with the occupation is based on raising its price until it is removed, by all methods of resistance.”
- On August 7, 2022, Abdalati wrote, “We mourn the martyrs of our people, and first and foremost, the great martyr fighter commanders in the Al-Quds Brigades, [Khaled] Mansour and [Tayseer] Al-Jabari and their free comrades.4 We affirm that the recurring Israeli occupation’s crimes shall not scorch the will power of the people and the resistance.”
- On December 10, 2019, Abdalati wrote, “With all the love and friendship, I wish to express my congratulations to the comrades of the path, the leadership, staff and members of the PFLP on the occasion of the 52nd anniversary of the establishment of the Front. Long live the anniversary and may the revolution continue until freedom, return and self determination.”
Appendix A – Additional photographs of PIJ officials who participated in Phoenix Center events and discussions
Mohammed Shalah – Senior PIJ member
Shalah attending a May 2022 Al-Quds Brigades [the PIJ’s military wing] ceremony honoring “the fighter” Mahmoud Abu Asi (Source: https://saraya.ps/post/63583/%D8%B5%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%8A%D8%A7-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D8%AF%D8%B3-%D8%AA%D8%A4%D8%A8%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81%D9%82%D9%8A%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%84)
Ahmed Al-Mudallal – Senior PIJ member
Al-Batsh addressing a December 2019 Al-Quds Brigades event. (Source: https://alqudsnews.net/post/147336/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A8%D8%B7%D8%B4-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%B1%D9%83%D8%A9-%D9%85%D8%B9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%AF%D9%88-%D9%84%D9%85-%D8%AA%D9%86%D8%AA%D9%87)
Al-Mudallal participating in a military parade of the PIJ’s Al-Quds Brigades. (Sources: https://asravoice.ps/gallery/287/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8; https://asravoice.ps/gallery/287/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%; https://khbrpress.ps/post/143180/%D8%A8%D8%A7
- USAspending.gov identifies the awardee as “Finiq Center for Field Studies and Researches,” which appears to be a phonetic mis-rendering of the Phoenix Center for Research and Field Studies. USAspending.gov lists “Finiq” as being located in the Abu Shaban Building on Al-Mu’asasat [Institutions] Street in Gaza, the same address provided by the Phoenix Center at https://phoenix-center.ps/contact/.
- All translation of Arabic-language material on Phoenix’s website by NGO Monitor
- Habib regularly incites violence against Israelis. For instance, in a September 2021 interview, he encouraged “all the resistance factions [to] abduct Zionist soldiers in order to swap them in prisoner swap deals and liberate the prisoners…We and the Hamas movement represent the resistance agenda in confronting the Zionist occupier…The earth must be set ablaze with resistance.” Similarly, in a November 2019 address he taunted Israelis: “Your [Zionist] entity will disappear and we will remain, Allah willing. Palestine belongs to us, Jerusalem belongs to us…whereas you will have nothing but slaughter at the hands of the mujahideen [holy warriors], Allah willing, if you continue to occupy this land. I advise you to leave this entity…Our Jihad and our strikes will continue until you leave, Allah willing. We will slaughter those who do not leave with our own hands, Allah willing.”
- Mansour was the commander of PIJ forces in southern Gaza and was responsible for numerous rocket attacks on Israel, according to the IDF. Al-Jabari headed PIJ’s Northern Gaza command, served as head of operations, and was responsible for coordination with Hamas. Al-Jabari is said to be involved in planning significant attacks against Israel, including with the use of anti-tank missiles. According to the IDF, he was responsible for the launching of hundreds of rockets into Israel.