Israeli Foreign Ministry Argues Banned Palestinian Groups Are ‘Main Source’ of PFLP Funds
Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Monday provided further details on why it labelled six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist groups and charged them with having links to one of the most extreme and violent factions of the PLO.
The move comes after Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Friday signed an executive order to take action against six Palestinian advocacy organizations — Addameer, Al Haq, Bisan Center, Defense of Children International-Palestine, Samidoun and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) — who are alleged to have connections to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
“The PFLP, designated as a terrorist group by the US and the EU, operates an organizational and military apparatus, including a network of civilian institutions whose goal is to absorb donations from abroad and fund the group’s critical needs on the ground,“ Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated. “PFLP institutions operate under the guise of humanitarian aid, receiving funding primarily from Europe. These institutions serve as the main source of funds for the financing of the PFLP’s activities at all levels.“
The terror designation of the NGOs has sparked some international backlash against Israel, as well as domestic criticism from within the governing coalition, while the US said Friday it had been taken by surprise by the decision. In response, Israel plans to send envoys from the Shin Bet security agency and a Foreign Ministry representative to Washington in coming days, to present further intelligence and evidence linking the Palestinian human rights groups to the PFLP.
On Monday, the ministry referenced findings of an investigation by Israeli security forces in May 2021 which provided extensive information on how millions of euros of aid were funneled to the PFLP via a network of institutions, mainly through so-called “Health Work Committees,” and how those funds were used for the group’s acts of terror also against Israeli civilians.
”The investigation revealed details about PFLP institutions acting as a network for absorption of funds for the terrorist organization, including Agricultural Committees (UAWC), Addameer, Bisan Center, Al-Haq, Defense for Children (DCI-P), and Women’s Committees (UPWC),” the ministry said. “This week it was revealed that six Palestinian civil society groups directed funding from Europe to the PFLP.”
Israel said that two officials of these institutions are PFLP operatives who were responsible for the bombing in 2019 that killed 17-year old Israeli Rina Schnerb.
One of the people interrogated during the investigation earlier this year said that the “institutions associated with the PFLP are interconnected, and are the organization’s economic and organizational lifeline in terms of money laundering and funding of the PFLP.”
The six NGOs provide a place of employment for PFLP agents, including militants, who get paid regular salaries, and their offices serve as quarters for the terrorist organization’s missions and activities, the ministry said. Meanwhile, it argued, the projects the Palestinian human rights groups promote are used to increase PFLP’s support and influence in the Palestinian population by luring new members among aid recipients and by disseminating their messages.
Additionally, the investigation showed that the Palestinian NGOs generated reports of fictional projects, false documents, and forged bank authorizations to assist the PFLP’s cause.