NGO Watchdog Calls Transfer of Western Funds to Palestinian Organizations Encouraging Terrorism ‘Immoral and Illegal’
The head of an Israel-based watchdog organization on Wednesday called the transfer of money to groups that encourage terrorism “both immoral and illegal.”
Prof. Gerald Steinberg, founder and president of NGO Monitor, was responding to a new report – prepared by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) – revealing that a number of Palestinian organizations that receive funding from the West have been openly supporting terrorism.
The MEMRI report lists five such organizations in particular, which “express this support with ceremonies exalting terrorists, with public displays of support for attacks and their perpetrators, by lionizing terrorists, and by posting inciting content on social media.”
“This report further highlights the irresponsible policies and lack of due diligence by the EU and other state funders for so-called civil society groups,” Steinberg told The Algemeiner. “There is no justification for European democracies, the UN and private funders to give money to any individual, group or institution that backs terrorism.”
However, Steinberg added, “As members of parliaments and journalists expand their oversight role on such funding, and open the secret processes for independent examination, the practice is likely to end.”
The report in question “Incitement to Terrorism by Palestinian Civil Society Organizations That Receive Foreign Funding,” written by B. Shanee, focuses on five such organizations: The Palestinian Bar Association, the Popular Art Centre, the Shabab Al-Balad Youth Forum, the Handala Cultural Center and Al-Nahda Rural Society.
According to MEMRI, the Palestinian Bar Association, the official body for Palestinian attorneys in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, awarded a posthumous lawyer’s license to Muhannad al-Halabi, who was killed after he stabbed two innocent people to death in Jerusalem in October. In addition, the bar association closed all of its offices in the West Bank, to allow members to attend the funerals of “the hero martyrs” Omar Al-Faqih, killed while attempting to carry out a stabbing attack at the Qalandia checkpoint, and Muhammad Shamasneh, killed after carrying one out on an Israeli bus.
This organization, MEMRI said, “receives regular funding from the EU, and has received aid from the EU Police Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support, the United Nations Development Programme and UN Women. It also maintains cooperation ties with the International Legal Foundation.”
The Popular Art Centre, a community center for the arts in Ramallah, according to the report:
On February 6, held a fundraiser in solidarity with the families of Jerusalem “martyrs” whose homes had been demolished, in which “songs of the Palestinian Revolution” were performed. The Popular Art Centre raised $25,000, which it transferred to a fund for rebuilding the demolished homes. One of the speakers at the fundraiser was Muhammad ‘Alian, father of Bahaa ‘Alian who, along with Bilal Abu Ghamen, perpetrated the October 13, 2015 shooting and stabbing attack on a bus in the Armon HaNatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem, in which three people were killed and seven were wounded. Bahaa’s father congratulated the martyrs of each Palestinian city: “the martyrs of Hebron, capital of the ‘Honor and Strength Intifada’; the martyrs of Jerusalem, the intifada’s initiator and bride; the martyrs of Ramallah, the most beautiful of cities and the leader of the intifadas, and the martyrs of Nablus, Tulkarm, Jenin and the [refugee] camps of steadfastness and defiance…” He concluded: “We, the families of the martyrs, demand of [both] the official and the popular echelons to inculcate the culture of the martyrs and to organize culture activities dealing with the martyrs’ legacy, their stories, and their lives, [activities dealing with] each and every martyr – for each of them has a story worthy of study, examination and attention.”
This center receives funding from the EU via the AM Qattan Foundation, the Taawon association, which in turn is funded by foreign bodies such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the EU, UNESCO, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the Canadian Embassy in Lebanon.
The other three groups listed in the report have similar records and also continue to be funded by Western institutions and philanthropies.