Freeze on Funding to West Bank Center Named After Terrorist Signifies Growing European Awareness of Palestinian Incitement, Israeli Watchdog Says
An international aid agency operated by four European governments has decided to freeze funding to a Palestinian NGO that named a women’s center in the West Bank after a notorious terrorist — a move, observed a leading Israeli monitoring organization, that signifies growing unease in Europe over taxpayer revenues subsidizing incitement activities by Palestinian groups purporting to be “civil society” organizations.
The Swiss government confirmed on Thursday that the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat — a funding body jointly run by Switzerland, The Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark — would no longer be funding the Palestinian NGO behind the center.
The NGO — the Womens’ Affairs Technical Committee (WATC) — opened the center in the West Bank village of Burqa in March. But international donors quickly balked when the naming of the center in honor of Palestinian terrorist Dalal Mughrabi was exposed in the Israeli media.
Mughrabi was a Fatah terrorist who carried out the bloodiest terrorist attack in Israel’s history, the “Coastal Road Massacre.” On March 11 1978, she led a group of PLO terrorists who landed on Israel’s Mediterranean shoreline and went on to seize a bus full of passengers which they drove south along the Coastal Highway toward Tel Aviv. The operation ended with the deaths of 38 Israelis — including 12 children — with a further 71 wounded. Mughrabi was among the eight terrorists killed during the attack.
Along with the Secretariat, the center was built with the financial assistance of Norway and the UN, both of whom announced in May that they would no longer provide funds.
The Secretariat’s decision follows the recent passage by the Swiss Council of States of a resolution directing the government to “amend the laws, ordinances and regulations” to prevent funding of NGOs “involved in racist, antisemitic or hate incitement actions.”
The WATC received $530,000 in core funding from the Secretariat, out of a four-year budget of $13 million specifically for Palestinian NGOs. The Israeli research and advocacy organization NGO Monitor noted in a special report that most of the NGOs receiving these funds routinely engage in incitement, support for the BDS campaign and international legal campaigns targeting Israeli officials.
Olga Deutsch, director of NGO Monitor’s Europe Desk, said the organization “commends the Secretariat’s decision to review its funding to WATC.”
“The Secretariat’s review of funding to WATC marks a dramatic and positive change in European policy,” Deutsch continued. “We note a greater awareness of the necessity to scrutinize and evaluate the activities of grantees, and hope to see a thorough review of other organizations as well.”