Click Here for more information on the UN BDS Blacklist and The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine NGO Network
On March 24, 2016, the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed Resolution 31/36, “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.” The Resolution called on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in consultation with the UN’s Working Group on Business and Human Rights to create a discriminatory blacklist of entities allegedly conducting activities in areas over the 1949 Armistice line. The database is aimed at economically damaging companies that are owned by Jews or do business with Israel, and is ultimately meant to harm the Jewish state.
This blacklist, aimed at advancing discriminatory anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions), operates from the false premises that business in occupied territory is “illegal settlement activity” and is barred by international law. In fact, there is no such prohibition and almost every country engages in and/or facilitates business activities in settlements in situations of occupation throughout the globe.
The UN BDS Blacklist also targets companies that facilitate the promotion of Jewish and Christian heritage and tourism in Jerusalem and the West Bank. In other words, the BDS Blacklist seeks to erase Jewish and Christian history from the Holy Land and is therefore antisemitic in both intent and effect.
Since 2016, NGOs, including a number of groups with ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), have been actively lobbying the UN by signing multiple letters and statements calling for the database to be implemented without further delay.
NGO Letters Sent to UN Officials
- In August 2019, over 100 NGOs (the vast majority openly support BDS) wrote a joint letter to Michelle Bachelet, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressing concern for the delay of the publication of the database and “urg[ing] you” to “releas[e] and transmit the data including the names of companies.” The letter falsely claims that “businesses  contravene rules and principles of international humanitarian and human rights law as a result of their operations in or with illegal Israeli settlements.”
- PFLP-linked NGO signatories include Al-Haq, Al Dameer, Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), Health Work Committees, Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Union of Palestinian Women Committees (UPWC), and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees.
- In February 2019, multiple NGOs signed a letter to Michelle Bachelet “warn[ing] that further delays in the publication of the UN Database and continued lack of transparency between the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and affected communities will only serve to undermine both the Office and the establishment of the UN Database. It would also foster an already- existing culture of impunity for human rights abuses and internationally recognised crimes in the OPT, committed by both State and non-State actors, including business enterprises.”
- PFLP-linked NGO signatories include Addameer, Al-Haq, Al-Dameer, Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), Palestinian Center for Human Rights, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees.
- In November 2018, numerous NGOs sent a letter to Michelle Bachelet calling for the Commissioner to “publish an online, dynamic, and regularly updated Database of businesses active in Israeli settlements” (emphasis in original). According to the letter, “Further delays in the publication of the Database will only serve to undermine its establishment, and the important work done by your Office and others, including members of civil society, to realise this necessary initiative to promote state and business responsibilities to protect and respect human rights.”
- PFLP-linked NGO signatories include Al-Haq, Al-Dameer, Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), and Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC).
- In February 2018, multiple NGOs signed a joint letter to Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “applaud[ing]” the creation of the databaseand calling for the UN to “complete its review of all companies named as a matter of urgency. As many of our organizations have already highlighted, the Database should be a mechanism that assists states in meeting their obligations under international law, including the obligation not to recognize as lawful – even implicitly – the illegal situation created by Israeli settlements and not to contribute to maintaining this illegal situation. This entails regulating businesses domiciled in their territory to ensure they are not engaged in listed activities in settlements.”
- PFLP-linked NGO signatories include Al-Haq, Addameer, Al-Dameer, Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), and Health Work Committees.
NGO Statements in Support of the Blacklist
- In October 2018, multiple NGOs were signatories on a position paper, “Three reasons why the European Union should support the United Nations Database on businesses activities related to Israeli settlements.” The position paper called for support of the database as it is a “necessary and proportionate measure to promote greater transparency, accountability and respect by both states and businesses of international law.” According to the position paper, “By ensuring the Database is duly transparent and regularly updated, the EU and its Member States will enable States, civil society and investors to productively engage with companies, to prevent human rights violations and address possible breaches.”
- In November 2017, numerous NGOs signed a statement “in support of the UN Human Rights Database on Business Activities related to Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” According to the statement, “The Database should be a mechanism that engages states and businesses as a tool for transparency and compliance control, including allowing states to meet their obligations not to recognize an illegal situation by assisting them in identifying companies that operate in settlements and trade in settlements goods. To that effect, it should ensure that data pertaining to companies involved in human rights violations in the OPT is publicly transmitted to the HRC as required by resolution 31/36.”
- PFLP-linked NGO signatories include Al-Haq, Addameer, Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), and Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR).
NGO Ties to the PFLP
- According to Fatah, Addameer is an affiliate of the PFLP. Several of Addameer’s current and former employees, as well as lawyers that work for Addameer, are linked to the terror group.
- Khalida Jarrar served as vice-chairperson of the PFLP-affiliated NGO Addameer, until 2017. Jarrar was arrested on October 31, 2019 on suspicions of “involvement in terror activity.” On December 18, 2019, it was revealed that Jarrar has “emerged as the head of the PFLP in the West Bank and responsible for all the organization’s activities” (emphasis added).
- Mahmoud Jiddah, a member of Addameer’s Board of Directors, was imprisoned by Israel for 17 years in 1968 on charges of belonging to the PFLP and carrying out armed attacks in Jerusalem, Hebron and Tel Aviv. The attacks included throwing grenades that injured nine Israelis. He was released in 1985 in a prisoner swap. Mahmoud Jiddah also served as a Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P) board member from at least 2012 through 2016. (See more on DCI-P below.)
- Addameer listed Samer Arbid as its accountant for several years on its website. According to Israeli security officials, on August 23, 2019, he commanded a PFLP terror cell that carried out a bombing against Israeli civilians, murdering 17-year old Rina Shnerb, and injuring her father and brother. According to the indictment, Arbid prepared and detonated the explosive device.
- Numerous Al-Dameer staff members and board members have ties to the PFLP.
- Additionally, according to Palestinian sources, in recent years, Al-Dameer officials, employees and board members have taken part in public PFLP gatherings, including congratulating the terror group on the anniversary of its founding, and participating in a PFLP delegation in Gaza.
- Younis Aljaro, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Al-Dameer, was a leader in the PFLP. According to Ma’an News Agency, Aljaro resigned from the PFLP in 2013.
- In May 2018, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express shut down online credit card donations to Al-Haq due to the group’s ties to the PFLP.
- Al-Haq General Director Shawan Jabarin is tied to the PFLP. As a result, his requests for Israeli exit visas have been denied on several occasions, and he has been denied entry by Jordan. In a series of court cases in 2007-2009, the Israeli High Court of Justice found Jabarin to be a senior PFLP activist (2007, 2008, 2009).
- Numerous individuals with alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization, have been employed and appointed as board members at DCI-P.
- Hashem Abu Maria was coordinator of DCI-P’s community mobilization unit and was hailed by the PFLP as a “leader” after his death in 2014. The PFLP announcement praised his work for DCI-P, stating “he was in the ranks of the national liberation struggle and the PFLP from an early age, arrested several times, and was a model for a steadfast struggler and advocate for the rights of our people through his work in Defence for Children International.”
- HWC’s Youth Development Program, “A community, cultural, and social development program that provide services to Jerusalemite youth through ‘Nidal Center,’” served as “a place of action of the [PFLP] organization.” As a result of these ties to the PFLP, the Center was closed by Israeli authorities from 2009 to 2012. In 2015, Israeli authorities closed an HWC center in Shufat. The decision states that the decision was made to raid and close the center “[u]nder the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1948 and after the conviction that this place is used in terrorist activities.”
- In October 2019, Waleed Hanatsheh, HWC’s finance and administration manager, was arrested as part of a terror cell that carried out a bombing against Israeli civilians, murdering 17-year old Rina Shnerb, and injuring her father and brother.
- According to the Washington Report, PCHR Director Raji Sourani served a three-year prison sentence from 1979-1982 due to his role in the PFLP. He has participated in public PFLP events, including in 2017.
- According to a December 27, 1985 Israeli media report, the deputy director of PCHR’s board, Jaber Wishah, served as “the head of the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Gaza.”
- He was sentenced to life in prison and spent 15 years in Israeli prison from 1985-1999, after being convicted of “holding a leading position in a terrorist organization of which he was a member, intentionally attempting to kill an Israeli Staff Sergeant in Gaza, configuring a bomb and planting a bomb, possession of fire arms and conspiring to commit murder.”
- According to Fatah, USAID, the Institute for Palestine Studies, and scholar Simona Sharoni, UPWC is affiliated with the PFLP.
- On March 21, 2018, UPWC Vice President Suhair Khader declared that UPWC is the PFLP’s “feminist framework.”
- In 2012, the Israeli security forces raided the UPWC offices located in the West Bank and “confiscated seven computers, four hard drives, camera memory cards, an external hard drive and a projector.” Likewise, “Posters of George Habash, the deceased leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine” and “60 children’s T-shirts that bore the name Ghassan Kanafani, a Palestinian writer born in Acre who served as one of the PFLP’s spokesmen” were also confiscated.
- UAWC is identified by Fatah as an official PFLP “affiliate,” and by USAID-engaged audit as the “agricultural arm” of the PFLP. According to academic scholar Glenn E. Robinson, UAWC was founded in 1986 by “agronomists loosely affiliated with the PFLP.”
- According to Israeli security officials, on August 23, 2019, Samer Arbid, UAWC’s accountant, commanded a PFLP terror cell that carried out a bombing against Israeli civilians, murdering 17-year old Rina Shnerb, and injuring her father and brother. According to the indictment, Arbid prepared and detonated the explosive device.
- In 2010, UAWC organized “a solidarity day with the Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmed Saadat…” The “solidarity day” featured Muhammad Bakri, executive director of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees in Gaza, and celebrated “the tenth anniversary of the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi” (an attack perpetrated by the PFLP).