FRESH AIR

There is ample evidence banned Palestinian NGOs are PFLP-affiliated

Oct 26, 2021 | Ran Porat

The six designated NGOs (L to R, top to bottom): the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC); Addameer Prisoner Support Association; Defense for Children International–Palestine (DCI-P); the Union of Agriculture Work Committees (UAWC); the Bisan Centre for Research and Development; al-Haq
The six designated NGOs (L to R, top to bottom): the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC); Addameer Prisoner Support Association; Defense for Children International–Palestine (DCI-P); the Union of Agriculture Work Committees (UAWC); the Bisan Centre for Research and Development; al-Haq

On Friday, Oct. 22, Israel banned six Palestinian NGOs – Addameer, Al Haq, Bisan Center, Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC) – based on their direct affiliation with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

The PFLP is a Marxist Palestinian terrorist organisation that has been designated as such by Israel, the US, the EU and numerous other countries. It has been responsible for the murders of hundreds of people, and was a pioneer of airplane hijacking. While it is not as prominent today as it was in the 1960s and 1970s, it remains an active perpetrator of terrorist attacks – a PFLP cell was responsible for a deadly terrorist bombing in 2019, and the PFLP referred to the perpetrators of a 2014 massacre of five people at a Jerusalem synagogue as “PFLP comrades.

According to Israel, backed up by much information already in the public domain, the six NGOs were used as a cover for promoting and financing the PFLP, channelling millions of dollars donated by European countries and international organisations into the PFLP, using forgery and fraud. These funds were later used by the PFLP to pay to families of terrorists in Israeli prisons, to pay salaries for operatives, to recruit activists and to promote terrorist activity against Israel.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry claimed on Oct. 25 that the groups collectively “serve as the main source of funds for the financing of the PFLP’s activities at all levels.”

The close PFLP links of these groups have become increasingly clear internationally in the past few years, and acknowledged by governments.

  • In August 2021, the EU’s anti-fraud mechanism, OLAF, launched a terror-financing investigation against the PFLP-affiliated NGOs funded from European sources.
  • The US government agency USAID called the UAWC the “agricultural arm” of the PFLP, and the UPWC the “women’s organization” of the PFLP.

 

Some of the Evidence

Israeli security services have amassed substantial evidence against these NGOs which has been made public in Hebrew. In addition, there is ample evidence from open sources available in English establishing the connection between the PFLP and the NGOs in question. For example, over the past few years, Israeli research institute NGO Monitor documented hundreds of different types of connections between the PFLP and UAWC, DCI-P , UPWC, Addameer and al-Haq, both organisationally and with respect to individual members. In many cases, arrests were made and trials were held where officials and employees of these groups were found guilty of terror-related activities.

Here are just a few samples from the ample evidence tying the banned groups to PFLP:

  • In August 2019, 17-year-old Rina Shnerb was murdered and her father and brother were injured in a bombing attack. The terror attack was orchestrated by Samer Arbid, who was working for the UAWC as the organisation’s accountant at the time. The PFLP confirmed Arbid was a commander in its main organisation.
  • Two other senior UAWC employees – the Finance and Administration Director for UAWC, Abdul Razeq Farraj, and UAWC’s Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Ubai Aboudi were also convicted of PFLP terrorism offences in the wake of that attack.

An official PFLP announcement stating that Samir Arbid, UAWC’s accountant who orchestrated the murder of Rina Shnerb, was a PFLP commander.

 

  • A screenshot of the PFLP website in English, which links to the DCI-P, Addameer, UPWC, and HWC websites (Nov. 5, 2015)

    (Source: https://www.ngo-monitor.org/nm/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/PFLP-Website_fixed.png)

     

  • A 2019 video from the Palestinian Wattan Media Network of an official PFLP event that featured leading PFLP figures, and which included representatives of the now-banned NGOs, including Khaleeda Jarrar and Abdullatif Ghaith of Addameer, Shawan Jabarin of Al-Haq, Gebril Muhamad of Bisan, and Ahmad Saadat of the UPWC.

 

The hall decorated with the PFLP red flags (screenshot)

 

Gebril Muhamad of Bisan at the 2019 PFLP event (screenshot)

 

UPWC promotes terrorists on social media. For example:

  • A social media post praising Dalal Mughrabi, who together with other terrorists, participated in the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre. The terrorists hijacked an Israeli bus near Tel Aviv and killed 38 civilians, 13 of them children. 

 

  • UPWC activists in a PFLP event commemoration, holding pictures of Ahed abu Gholma, a PFLP leader who was responsible for the murder of Israeli Minister Rehavam Zeevi in 2001.

 

  • UPWC paying homage to the Israeli Arab terrorist, Lena Jarboni, who served 15 years in prison for assisting Palestinian Islamic Jihad to carry out suicide bombings inside Israel that led to the killing of more than 20 Israelis. Other released prisoners are also present in the photo.

 

  • UPWC post praising Shorouq Dwayyat who murdered Daniel Rosenfeld with a kitchen knife in 2015 in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem.

 

DCI-P operatives have also been directly involved with the PFLP.

 

Australian Links

There are Australian links to some of the six groups – and indeed, some have even received Australian funding.

One of the organisations banned, UAWC, listed World Vision as a supporting group in the past. World Vision is a charity previously supported by AusAID, the Australian government agency for overseas aid.

In 2018, the Australian government halted funding to another PFLP-affiliated organisation in Gaza, the Ma’an Development Centre, that was being given to Ma’an via the Australian union aid organisation APHEDA, after it was revealed some UAWC operatives were PFLP terrorists.

Another Australian connection is Australian lawyer Gerard Horton, who used to work for DCI-P, and became its public face. Horton and DCI-P were major sources used by The Australian’s former Middle East correspondent John Lyons, now a senior ABC executive, for his controversial 2014 ABC documentary “Stone Cold Justice”  (see AIJAC’s past critique of “Stone Cold Justice” here, and our response to Lyons’ new booklet about the supposed power of the “Israel Lobby” here).

 

Dr. Ran Porat is an AIJAC Research Associate. He is also a Research Associate at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University, a Research Fellow at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Centre in Herzliya and a Research Associate at the Future Directions International Research Institute, Western Australia.

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