Introduction

Established in 1993 in cooperation with the PFLP-affiliated Addameer, Al-Dameer is a Gaza-based non-governmental organization (NGO) that claims to work on “development, upholding, protecting, publicizing and strengthening human rights in Palestinian society in the Gaza Strip, strengthening the importance of Palestinian civil rights, including the rights of detainees and children and the right of freedom of association…” Al-Dameer is a member of the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO).  As detailed below, it has received significant funding from the European Commission and has also received government funds from countries such as Switzerland and the US.

Since NGO Monitor published its previous report in January 2020, Al-Dameer has introduced new executives and members of its Board of Directors. As detailed below, many of these individuals have links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated terrorist organization by the USEUCanada, and Israel. In addition, the NGO itself has partnered with other PFLP members. For example, according to the website of a program under the title of “Contributing to the respect, protection and promotion of the right to association in the Gaza Strip”, on December 30, 2019, Al-Dameer held a conference on “The reality of the right to association in accordance with international obligations of Palestine”; among the participants was Mariam Abu Daqqa, a member of the PFLP Central Committee.

For more information on Al-Dameer’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s previous report, “Al-Dameer’s Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”

Funding

PFLP Links

Staff

Multiple staff members of Al-Dameer are also members of the Democratic Association of Lawyers and Jurists (DALJ); some hold high-ranking positions. According to the PFLP, DALJ is the “Front’s [lawyers’] union framework,” a PFLP subsidiary that regularly collaborates with the PFLP and participates in the latter’s rallies, celebrations and official meetings. Furthermore, DALJ regularly praises PFLP members and disseminates its official content.

Details regarding the affiliation of several Al-Dameer members with DALJ include:

Alaa Skafi

Alaa Skafi is the Acting Executive Director of Al-Dameer as of April 2020. Skafi also held the position of Deputy Director during 2019 and Legal Unit Coordinator in April 2019January 2020, according to Arab media sources and Al-Dameer.3 According to Al-Dameer, Skafi has been working at the NGO since 2018.

Previously, Skafi was a lawyer at Al-Mezan, another NGO with ties to the PFLP, from March 2011 to November 2018. (For more information on Al-Mezan’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Al Mezan Center For Human Rights’ Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”)

According to DALJ, Skafi was the head of DALJ from March 2018 to November 2018 and deputy head from December 2013 to June 2014.4 Moreover, as of February 2019, Skafi was a member of the Board of Directors of DALJ.

Al-Dameer officials Alaa Skafi and Maher Al-Attar meeting with several PFLP senior members – Hani Khalil, Muhammed Makkawi, Jamil Mazhar and Nasrallah Jarghoun

Alaa Skafi, accompanied by Al-Dameer staff members Yousef Balousha and Fathi Al-Helou, participating in a PFLP march “to support the prisoners and against Trump’s visit to the Palestinian territories.”

    • On June 13, 2014, the PFLP reported that DALJ members, among them Skafi, participated in a demonstration in support of prisoners on a hunger strike. The report referred to Skafi as a “comrade.”
  • Glorification of violence:
    • On June 10, 2018, Alaa Skafi posted a picture of Muhammed Skafi, a member of the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the PFLP’s armed wing. According to PFLP sources, “In the evening of Monday, June 9, 2003, Muhammed Mu’in Skafi and his comrade Tarik Al-Masri died while carrying out a heroic martyr operation in the settlement known as Netzarim. The two comrades…rained bullets and grenades on several soldiers…This heroic operation caused the death of more than three Zionist soldiers and injured no less than 12 other soldiers.” Skafi wrote, “We knew him as a gallant revolutionary knight, may your pure soul rest in peace, the martyr Muhammed Skafi, ‘Abu Mu’in’. The 15th anniversary of his martyrdom.”

Alaa Skafi posted a picture of Muhammed Skafi and wrote, “We knew him as a gallant revolutionary knight, may your pure soul rest in peace, the martyr Muhammed Skafi, ‘Abu Mu’in’…”

    • On October 16, 2017, Skafi shared a PFLP poster of the late Israeli Minister of Tourism Rehavam Ze’evi, with three bullet holes in his forehead, next to six PFLP members who were involved in Ze’evi’s assassination in October 17, 2001: Hamdi Quran, Bassel Assamer, Majdi Rahima Rimawi, Ahed Abu Gholma, PFLP Secretary General Ahmad Sa’adat, and Fuad Shubaki. The poster reads, “the heroes of the first assassination operation in the history of the Palestinian resistance…these heroes demonstrated that an assassination [of a PFLP official] results in an assassination [of an Israeli official]. They carried out the order of Secretary General Ahmad Sa’adat, who avenged the blood of our commander [former PFLP Secretary General] Abu Ali Mustafa …Freedom to our prisoners, freedom” (emphasis in original). Skafi wrote in his post, “May the men of October 17 be well every year.”

Skafi’s poster hailing PFLP members involved in the assassination of the late Israeli Minister of Tourism, Rehavam Ze’evi. Skafi wrote in his post, “May the men of October 17 be well every year.”

    • On October 9, 2015, Skafi shared a poster reading “Your Knife is Freedom” and wrote, “Resistance with words does not cancel the need for resistance with weapons.”

The poster reading “Your Knife is Freedom,” and Skafi’s post: “Resistance with words does not cancel the need for resistance with weapons.”

  • Praising PFLP figures:
    • On July 8, 2019, Skafi posted on Facebook a portrait of Ghassan Kanafani, former PFLP spokesperson and member of its Political Bureau, and wrote, “…Ghassan was mistreated because he loved Palestine and wrote on Palestine…he didn’t get his deserved appreciation from his nation’s sons, only after his passing…Ghassan has prevailed in the mind of every free Palestinian and deserves the appreciation of every Palestinian.”

Maher Al-Attar

Maher Al-Attar held the position of Chairman of Al-Dameer’s Board as of August 20205 and Head of the PFLP’s DALJ as of February 2019.6 Al-Attar was a member of the Union of Health Work Committee (UHWC)’s Board as of July 2019.7

(UHWC is identified by Fatah as an official PFLP “affiliate” and by a 1993 USAID-engaged audit as the “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.”)

  • PFLP membership and participation in PFLP activities:
    • According to the PFLP, on March 30, 2021, the PFLP registered its electoral list with the CEC for the PA’s elections, “The People’s Pulse.” The list, comprising 65 candidates, includes Al-Attar (#12) among other PFLP leaders. Al-Attar also participated in the PFLP’s official delegation in registering the list with the CEC.

Al-Attar (circled) participating in the PFLP’s delegation for registering the People’s Pulse list with the CEC. Also present are Jamil Mazhar (forefront left), Hani Khalil (right, next to Al-Attar), and Mariam Abu Daqqa (forefront center).

    • On March 22, 2018, the DALJ published a statement by Al-Attar, in which he refers to himself as a “comrade in the PFLP.”
    • In March 2018, Al-Attar attended the aforementioned Democratic Association of Lawyers and Jurists’ meetings with PFLP General Central Committee members Hani Khalil and Muhammed Makkawi, Head of PFLP’s Gaza Branch and member of its Political BureauJamil Mazhar, and PFLP General Central Committee member and Head of its Khan Yunis District Nasrallah Jarghoun.
  • Advocating violence:
    • On May 14, 2018, Al-Attar shared on Facebook a picture of the Dome of the Rock with a Palestinian flag and wrote, “…those who normalize and who are prostrated will not sever us, this is Palestine, here the Tatars of this time will be defeated and eliminated, the savage and artificial state will be eliminated and crushed, the entity state and all the backward normalizing regimes will be eliminated by the will and resistance of a people who love life, this is Palestine” (emphasis added).

Ilham Jarghoun

Ilham Jarghoun is Al-Dameer Vice Chairman of the Board since December 2019.8

  • PFLP membership:
    • On March 30, 2021, Jarghoun shared on Facebook pictures from the PFLP’s registration of “The People’s Pulse” list with the CEC. Jarghoun is seen participating in PFLP’s delegation. Jarghoun is placed fifth on the PFLP’s electoral list.

Jarghoun participated in the PFLP’s delegation for registering the People’s Pulse list with the CEC

Mousa Ayyad

Mousa Ayyad is the Secretary of Al-Dameer’s Board as of August 20209, and the Head of the PFLP’s Progressive Scouts Groups as of June 2015.10

  • PFLP membership and participation in PFLP activities:
    • On April 1, 2021, Quds News reported that Ayyad was placed in the nineteenth spot on the PFLP’s “The People’s Pulse” electoral list.
    • On June 17, 2015, the PFLP reported that Ayyad participated in the Progressive Scouts’ official event for the conclusion of their study of former PFLP spokesman Ghassan Kanafani with “a number of commanders, leaders and members of the PFLP” also present. During the event, Ayyad praised PFLP Secretary General Ahmed Sa’adat and Senior Leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Khader Adnan. The PIJ is designated as a terrorist organization by the US, EU and Canada.
    • In June 2014, Ayyad was referred to by the PFLP as a “comrade and leader in the PFLP.”
  • Praising PFLP figures:
    • On August 27, 2020, Ayyad posted on Facebook a picture of former PFLP Secretary General Abu Ali Mustafa and wrote, “a national and international symbol…the doctor [George Habash, PFLP founder] said that ‘he planted a gun on every hill’ for our people, in his life he was fierce and that his martyrdom was a source of pride. Avenging his assassination is an honor. May God have mercy on him, he left us a lantern to guide us and guideposts for whoever did not want to stray from the road.”
    • On January 3, 2019, Ayyad posted on Facebook a picture of Archbishop Atallah and Mufti Abd Al-Majid Amarna Hanna next to a Christmas tree decorated with pictures of “the moons of Palestine, our righteous martyrs,” such as former PFLP Secretary General Abu Ali Mustafa.

Qosay Al-Zaaneen

Qosay Al-Zaaneen is the treasurer of Al-Dameer as of August 2020.11

  • PFLP membership and participation in PFLP activities:
    • On December 11, 2018, Al-Zaaneen posted pictures from a PFLP event honoring the organization’s founding anniversary. Al-Zaaneen wrote, “Long live the anniversary my comrades.”

Al-Zaaneen’s pictures from the PFLP event, and his post: “Long live the anniversary my comrades.”

    • On December 5, 2018, Al-Zaaneen shared an official PFLP poster congratulating its members on its anniversary. The poster included a picture of Al-Zaaneen and referred to him as a “comrade.”

Al-Zaaneen’s PFLP poster referring to him as a “comrade.”

  • Praising PFLP figures:
    • Al-Zaaneen’s Facebook profile picture12 is of George Habash, Yasser Arafat, and Abu Ali Mustafa.

George Habash, Yasser Arafat and Abu Ali Mustafa in Qosay Al-Zaaneen’s Facebook profile picture.

    • On August 7, 2018, Al-Zaaneen wrote on Facebook, “I am totally convinced, without exaggerating…that the struggle between us and the Zionist enemy is a decisive life and death struggle…who said: ‘is there a people in the world that lives under occupation and wants to assist his cause by satisfying people? This will never be.’ One of the sayings of the eternal martyr, the moon of martyrs, Abu Ali Mustafa.”
    • On June 28, 2018, Al-Zaaneen shared a poster calling to “Free Khalida Jarrar, Palestinian feminist, political leader and parliamentarian…”
      • Jarrar, a senior member of the PFLP, was sentenced on March 1, 2021, by the Judea Military Court to two years in prison for holding office in the PFLP from 2016 until her arrest in 2019.
    • On July 8, 2016, Al-Zaaneen shared a picture of Ghassan Kanafani with the quote, “The bodies may fall but not the idea.” Al-Zaaneen wrote, “He presented a greater danger to the occupation state than a thousand fighters. This, just with his pen. The 44th anniversary of the martyrdom of Ghassan Kanafani, the author ”

Ayman Al-Hour

Ayman Al-Hour is a Board Member of Al-Dameer as of August 2020.13

  • PFLP membership and participation in PFLP activities:
    • On December 7, 2019, Al-Hour posted pictures from his participation in an official PFLP rally celebrating its establishment anniversary, and wrote: “…All salutations and appreciation to all who participated in commemorating the anniversary of the glorious start. 52 years of sacrifice and maintaining the principles.”

Al-Hour’s pictures from an official PFLP rally, and post: “…All salutations and appreciation to all who participated in commemorating the anniversary of the glorious start. 52 years of sacrifice and maintaining the principles.”

    • In February 2014, Al-Hour participated in a PFLP workshop on “Palestinian youth and the refugees’ issue.” The PFLP referred to Al-Hour as a “comrade.”
  • Praising PFLP figures and actions:
    • On July 4, 2020, Al-Hour shared a picture of George Habash, quoting him: “‘Israel is not stronger than the US and the Palestinian people is not weaker than the Vietnamese people.’ The doctor, George Habash.”
    • On December 1, 2019, Al-Hour shared a video of a PFLP rally with George Habash and wrote: “Long live the launch of the stubborn revolution. Long live the bullet that is faithful to the land and people. 11/12/67 [the date of the PFLP’s establishment].”

Al-Hour shared a YouTube link of a PFLP rally with George Habash and wrote, “Long live the launch of the stubborn revolution. Long live the bullet that is faithful to the land and people.11/12/67.”

  • Glorification of violence:
    • On October 17, 2017, Al-Hour wrote on Facebook, “Eternal October 17 [the date of Israeli Minister of Tourism Rehavam Ze’evi’s assassination by the PFLP], when the bullets of the Front’s retaliation voiced cries of joy. It was like an earthquake that made shocks all over the free world due to the forgotten heroes.”