Research Note: German Government Program for “Strengthening Nonviolent Initiatives” Funds Organizations Promoting Violence
- Since 2013, German NGO KURVE Wustrow has been running a project in the West Bank titled “Strengthening Nonviolent Initiatives”, as part of a German federal government program, Civil Peace Service (CPS). This program
is managed and implemented by “German peace and development organisations” such as KURVE Wustrow, but is funded in its entirety by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
- According to its website, “The Centre for Training and Networking in Nonviolent Action – KURVE Wustrow is a non-profit association funded by its members.” However, according to the 2014 annual report, in 2013 and 2014 roughly 80% of its budget came from public grants.
- According to the CPS website and Kurve Wustrow’s website, the local partner organizations participating in this project are Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC), the Center for Freedom and Justice (founded by one of the PSCC member committees), Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), and Youth Against Settlements (YAS). As shown below, the activities of two of these NGO partners are inconsistent with claims of advocating for nonviolence.
- CWP and PSCC have worked together before on similar projects, under the auspices of other frameworks. In 2013, they received a joint grant from the EU’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) for an almost identical project – “Addressing fear: strengthening the nonviolent alternative.” Following NGO Monitor publications and communication with the EU, the subsequent PfP Call for Proposals of 2014 warned that “All actions should assess whether they may directly or indirectly lead to violence, even if they have been established for non-violent purposes” (emphasis added). Moreover, EU funding to CWP and the PSCC was discontinued in the consecutive funding cycle.
- Kurve Wustrow’s stated vision is a “world marked by nonviolence and ecologically and socially balanced.”
Activities of the PSCC
- PSCC does not have a functioning website. However, an entry in a different location states that PSCC “present[s] a unique form of community based organizing and resistance in the tradition of the first Palestinian Intifada.”
- PSCC has organized protests that have turned violent. Video of PSCC protests in Hebron, Kfer Qaddum, Nilin, Nabi Saleh and Beituniya shows protestors hurling rocks, throwing sharp objects, trying to destroy the security barrier, and arson.
- PSCC’s recent Twitter activity (December 2015 and onward) repeatedly employs “martyr” rhetoric and boasts photos of demonstrators hurling rocks. An invitation to an event tweeted by PSCC on December 20, 2015, features the hand of a demonstrator full of rocks. (See below for screenshots.)
- PSCC rigorously promotes a “Free Ahmad Manasrah” Twitter campaign. Ahmad Manasrah is a 13-year old Palestinian boy who participated in a stabbing attack together with his 17-year old cousin in October 2015. The attack, which critically injured an Israeli child, was caught on camera.
- As part of this campaign, PSCC tweeted that Israeli officers “use sexual threats as a way 2 force Palestinian children into giving confessions” and that “Palestinian children hit brutally by the Israeli occupation officers during interrogation,” and linked to a video falsely claiming that “An Israeli car has chased Ahmed and run over him on purpose, claiming his attempt of stabbing Israeli people, without any evidence whatsoever.”
Activities of CWP
- Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) initiated the “Who Profits?” campaign and database, which identifies targets for anti-Israel BDS.
- CWP officials have been photographed holding a flag of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, an EU-recognized terrorist organization responsible for numerous attacks against civilians. Following the publication of a previous NGO Monitor’s report, this image was removed from CWP’s Facebook page.
KURVE Wustrow Statement
- In November 2015, KURVE Wustrow published a statement condemning the “attacks of the Israeli army and settlers on our civil peace service partners in Palestine.”
- The statement fails to mention Palestinian terror attacks against Israeli civilians: “We are witnessing with great concern the current wave of violence in Palestine and Israel. Especially worrying is the unjustified and disproportional usage of violence by the Israeli army against the Palestinian population, as well as the attack against our Palestinian cooperation partners Youth Against Settlements (YAS) and Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC).”
- The term “violent attacks,” recurrent in the statement, refers to arrests and detainments of two Palestinian members of these organizations for their alleged involvement in terror activities.
Screenshots from PSCC Twitter Account