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Introduction

As detailed in NGO Monitor research, numerous Palestinian NGOs have substantial ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – designated as a terrorist organization by the EU, US, Canada, and Israel. 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. Ignoring these clear links, European governments and foundations continue to fund and cooperate with these NGOs, as officials deny the significance of the links with the PFLP and assert that the ties have long since lapsed.

A video uncovered by NGO Monitor researchers captures the breadth and ongoing relevance of the PFLP’s NGO network. The video shows NGO officials, including those who were subsequently arrested and indicted for orchestrating a deadly terror attack, attending a PFLP event.

On May 14, 2019, the PFLP organized a memorial in Ramallah. The hall was decorated with PFLP paraphernalia. The focus 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 the Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and Addameer.

This video, when added to the existing evidence of links between the NGOs and the PFLP, reinforces the clear and urgent need for a detailed, independent investigation of European government funding to these organizations.

Summary of Findings

  • Nine individual representatives from at least seven NGOs that receive European government funding attended this PFLP event. (See Appendices for details on funding from the EU and individual European countries.)
  • At least four current and former NGO officials who attended the event were subsequently indicted on charges of being members of a PFLP terror cell. Some are currently standing trial for their direct involvement in the August 2019 murder of a 17-year-old Israeli girl.
  • Four of the NGOs whose officials have been identified in the video clip are members of the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), an umbrella group of 142 NGOs based in the West Bank and Gaza. NGO Monitor research shows that PNGO and a number of its officials have ties to the PFLP (see NGO Monitor’s report “PNGO’s Ties to Palestinian Terror Groups”).
    • PNGO often represents its members in negotiations with the EU and other funding frameworks. According to media reports, during a December 2019 meeting with EU officials, PNGO officials “refused to sign an EU grant request which stipulates among its criteria that beneficiaries must refuse to transfer any EU aid given to terrorist groups or entities…The organizations in question steadfastly decline to do so, claiming Palestinian terrorist groups are merely ‘political parties.’” (See NGO Monitor’s report “In a first, EU to investigate if funding went to terror linked NGOs”).

 

Palestinian NGO Officials Identified at the PFLP Event

Shatha Odeh

Chair of the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) Board of Directors and “General Director” of Health Work Committees (HWC) – two PFLP-linked NGOs (see NGO Monitor’s reports “Health Work Committees’ Ties to the PFLP Terror Group” and “PNGO’s Ties to Palestinian Terror Groups”).

Shatah Odeh sitting in front of the PFLP banner detailing the identity of the “martyrs.” Source: https://www.wattan.net/ar/video/282626.html (17:00)

Shawan Jabarin

Director General of Al-Haq, Secretary General of FIDH, and member of the advisory board of Human Rights Watch’s MENA division.

Shawan Jabarin standing. Source: https://www.wattan.net/ar/video/282626.html (2:47)

Mustafa Barghouti

President of Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS).

  • Barghouti was interviewed during the event and declared, “We mourn the loss of all the shahids [martyrs] that our people have lost, and that the fighter PFLP has lost. Comrade Muhanna was a brother and a dear friend, we were colleagues in struggle…he lived a life of a hero struggler. We are sure he left a mark on the political and national struggle. We share this mourning with our dear comrades in the PFLP… these shahids are the shahids of all the national movement in its entirety” (5:37, emphasis added, translation from Arabic by NGO Monitor).

Mustafa Barghouti interviewed. Source: https://www.wattan.net/ar/video/282626.html (5:39)

Khitam Saafin

President of Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC), a PFLP-affiliated NGO (see NGO Monitor’s report “The Union of Palestinian Women Committees Society’s Ties to the PFLP Terror Group”).

  • In July 2017, Saafin was arrested by Israeli security forces. In a July 2017 statement, the PFLP confirmed the arrest of “a number of leaders and activists of the Front, led by the Palestinian Legislative Council member Khalida Jarrar, feminist activist Khitam Saafin and former prisoner Ihab Massoud, as well as a number of activists in al-Khalil” (emphasis added).
  • The PFLP refers to Saafin as a “comrade.”

Khitam Saafin sitting on the right. Source: https://www.wattan.net/ar/video/282626.html (9:05”)

Gebril Muhamad

Senior researcher at Bisan Center for Research and Development (Bisan), an organization with reported ties to the PFLP. (See NGO Monitor research)1

Gebril Muhamad interviewed Source: https://www.wattan.net/ar/video/282626.html (5:27”)

Sami Khader

According to the NGO, he is “MA’AN’s Director General and one of the founders of the MA’AN Development Center since its establishment in January 1989.”2

Sami Khader walking with a red shirt. Source: https://www.wattan.net/ar/video/282626.html (3:29)

Palestinian NGO Officials Who Were Subsequently Arrested and Indicted

Several NGO officials who were arrested in 2019 by Israeli security forces and indicted on charges of being part of PFLP-terror cell also attended the memorial event (see NGO Monitor’s report “Current and Former NGO Employees Arrested as Part of PFLP-Terror Cell”). These include:

Samer Arbid

Accountant and previously “financial officer” of the PFLP-affiliated NGO the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) (see NGO Monitor’s report “Union of Agricultural Work Committees Ties to the PFLP Terror Group”).

Samer Arbid sitting on the left. Source: https://www.wattan.net/ar/video/282626.html (7:23)

Walid Hanatsheh (Abu Ras)

HWC’s finance and administration manager and also listed as a PNGO board member on behalf of HWC.

  • Hanatsheh is on trial for allegedly being the leader of 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.

Walid Hanatsheh (Abu Ras) sitting on the left. Source: https://www.wattan.net/ar/video/282626.html (1:10)

Abdel Razeq Farraj

UAWC “Finance and Administration Director.”

  • According to his indictment (on file), Razeq Farraj held a senior PFLP post and authorized the August 2019 bombing. He is currently standing trial.

Abdel Razeq Farraj sitting on the left Source: https://www.wattan.net/ar/video/282626.html (7:24)

Khalida Jarrar

Former Vice President of the PFLP “affiliate” NGO Addameer (see NGO Monitor’s report “Addameer’s Ties to the PFLP Terrorist Group”)

  • According her indictment, headed the PFLP in the West Bank since June 2016.

Khalida Jarrar sitting on the right. Source: https://www.wattan.net/ar/video/282626.html (2:47)

Appendix 1: Government Funding to MA’AN Development Center

GovernmentFunderAmountYear(s)Comment
European UnionInstrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP)€345,0002017-2018
BelgiumDirectorate-General for Development Cooperation (DGD)€986,9542017-2021Via Solidarité Socialiste
CanadaGovernment of Canada$2 million (CAD)2019
$1,525,431(CAD)2018
FranceAFD€320,0002016-2019*Via Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS)
DenmarkDanChurchAidDKK 3,075,1932017-2018
GermanyGIZN/A2018-2021
Italy Government of Italy $862,0762018Via Save the Children; In partnership with two additional Palestinian NGOs
$136,6122018Via United Nations Mine Action Service
$9,2902017
JapanGovernment of Japan$1.4 million2016-2018Via United Nations Mine Action Service
NorwayGovernment of NorwayNOK 5 million2017-2019
NOK 3 million2020-2023Via mine action in Palestine
UKGovernment of UK$131,5052018Via United Nations Mine Action Service
SpainGovernment of Spain$330,761
Australia$3,729,2292016
UN OCHAoccupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund$325,0062020Coronavirus disease Outbreak - COVID -19
UN OCHAoccupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund$231,5052020
UN OCHAoccupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund$433,8212019
UN OCHAoccupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund$432,7552019
UN OCHAoccupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund$491,5282019
UN OCHAoccupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund$282,5322018

*According to AFPS, the project was extended to 2020.

Appendix 2: Government Funding to HWC

GovernmentFunderAmountYear(s)Comment
European UnionEuropean Neighborhood Instrument (ENI)€699,2362017-2019Implemented by 5 Palestinian NGO partners
BelgiumDirectorate-General for Development Cooperation (DGD)€955,9762017-2021Via Viva Salud; Implemented by at least one more Palestinian partner
SwedenSwedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)$3.7 million 2017-2020
Individuell MänniskohjälpSEK 743,9482017
SEK 883,1792016
SpainBasque Agency for Development Cooperation (AVCD) €800,7642015-2018Via Mundubat; Implemented by 5 Palestinian NGO partners as part of the Kanan project
Municipality of San Sebastián€11,6302018Via SODePAZ
Municipality of Málaga€7,7502017Via Al Quds Association
€13,4202016Via Al Quds Association
UN OCHAoccupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund$305,0542020
$109,7562017

Appendix 3: Government Funding to PNGO

GovernmentFunderAmountYear(s)Comment
European UnionEuropean Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) and ENI€261,914 2017-2020Implemented by 2 Palestinian NGO partners
European UnionEIDHR€446,4822016-2019Implemented by PNGO and Al-Dameer
European UnionDevelopment Cooperation Instrument (DCI)€1.2 million2017-unknownImplemented by 4 Palestinian NGO partners
NorwayNorwegian People’s Aid (NPA)NOK 52.5 million2016-2019Implemented by 11 Palestinian NGO partners
GermanyGerman Society for International Cooperation (GIZ)N/A2011-2016Project title: “Strengthening Civil Society in the Palestinian Territories.”

Appendix 4: Government Funding to UAWC

GovernmentFunderAmountYear(s)Comment
NetherlandsRepresentative Office in Ramallah$11.3 million2017-2021
SpainSpanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID)€400,0002019-2021
NorwayNorwegian People’s Aid (NPA)NOK 52.5 million2016-2019Implemented by 11 Palestinian NGO partners
European Union*European Solidarity Corps€15,3782020-2022Implemented by 2 NGOs
€19,1682019-2021Implemented by 2 NGOs
European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI)€3 million2015-2017
BelgiumDirectorate-General for Development Cooperation (DGD)€286,0022017-2018Via Oxfam Solidarité
GermanyMedico InternationalN/A2018
MFAN/A2018
ItalyItalian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS)€994,4152018-2020Via Organizzazione Per Lo Sviluppo Globale Di Comunita’ In Paesi Extraeuropei Onlus (Overseas); Implemented by 3 Palestinian NGO partners
€847,7012018-2021Via Associazione Di Cooperazione E Solidarieta (ACS); Implemented by 3 Palestinian NGO partners
FranceAgence Française de Développement€232,0002018-2020Via Experts-Solidaires
The Rhone Mediterranean Corsica Water Agency€203,4402018-2020
Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA)N/A2018-2020
UN OCHAoccupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund$356,1172019
$400,0002018via OXFAM Netherlands (NOVIB)
$248,9412017
$230,5852017

*In 2011-2017, the EU provided €18.3 million to projects involving UAWC. For more details, read NGO Monitor’s blog post “NGO-Terror Links Case Study: EU Funding to UAWC in 2011-2017

Appendix 5: Government Funding to UPWC

GovernmentFunderAmountYear(s)Comment
European UnionEuropean Neighborhood Instrument (ENI)€699,2362017-2019Implemented by 5 Palestinian NGO partners
SpainBasque Agency for Development Cooperation (AVCD)€800,7642015-2018Via Mundubat; Implemented by 5 Palestinian NGO partners as part of the Kanan project
AVCD€184,2522018-2019Via Mundubat
NorwayNorwegian People’s Aid (NPA)NOK 52.5 million2016-2019Implemented by 11 Palestinian NGO partners

Appendix 6: Government Funding to Addameer

GovernmentFunderAmountYear(s)Comment
GermanyHeinrich Böll FoundationN/A2016
IrelandIrishAid€75,0002017
€75,0002016
Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and the NetherlandsHuman Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat$498,7002014-2017
SwitzerlandSwiss Agency for Development and CooperationCHF 118,2802018
NorwayNorwegian Ministry of Foreign AffairsNOK 1,800,0002015-2016
SpainBasque Agency for Development Cooperation (AVCD€180,0002017-2019
€199,9882015-2019
Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa€81,2482016-2018Via SODePAZ
Municipality of Barcelone€162,7122017
€57,4362016
Autonomous community of Navarre€158,4862019Via SODePAZ
€153,4862018
€153,4862017
Municipality of Vitoria-Gasteiz€68,3322016-2017Via Nazioarteko Elkartasuna - Solidaridad Internacional
€56,9992018-2019
Municipality of Rivas-Vaciamadrid€22,6302016
Municipality of San Sebastián€50,0002018-2020Via SODePAZ
€66,4892016-2018
€69,4292015-2017
UNUNICEF$205,0282016Implemented by 5 NGO partners
UNICEF (Japan)$114,1442017

Appendix 7: Government Funding to PMRS

GovernmentFunderAmountYear(s)Comment
France AFD€764,6642018-2020Via SECOURS POPULAIRE FRANCAIS
Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs€70,0002020
SwedenSwedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)$5.7 million2016-2020
EU European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI)€2.5 million2016-2019Implemented by 4 Palestinian NGO partners
European Commission€743,206 2014-2017Implemented by 2 Palestinian NGO partners
ENI€346,6032016-2020Via Oxfam Novib
UN OCHAoccupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund$501,5022020
$331,5932019
$337,6922018

Appendix 8: Government Funding to Bisan

GovernmentFunderAmountYear(s)Comment
European UnionEuropean Neighborhood Instrument (ENI)€699,2362017-2019Implemented by 5 Palestinian NGO partners
SpainBasque Agency for Development Cooperation (AVCD)€800,7642015-2018Via Mundubat; Implemented by 5 Palestinian NGO partners as part of the Kanan project
ItalyMFA€1.6 million2014-2017Via CISS - Cooperazione Internazionale Sud Sud; Implemented by 4 Palestinian NGO
BelgiumDirectorate-General for Development Cooperation (DGD)€1.2 million2014-2016Via Solidarité Socialiste; Implemented by 3 Palestinian NGO

Appendix 9: Government Funding to Al-Haq

GovernmentFunderAmountYear(s)Comment
European UnionEuropean Neighborhood Instrument (ENI)€296,6002018-2021
NorwayNORADNOK 2,000,0002018
NOK 2,000,0002017
NOK 1,600,0002016
ItalyAICS€1,800,0002018-2020Via COSPE – Cooperazione per lo Sviluppo dei Paesi Emergenti; Implemented by 6 NGOs
IrelandIrish Aid€80,0002017
€80,0002016
Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and the NetherlandsHuman Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat$1,301,7002014-2017
FranceMEAE€27,8422015