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June 28, 2022 10:31 am

Addameer: Why Are Media Ignoring Palestinian NGO’s Fight to Free Terrorists?

avatar by Rachel O'Donoghue


In 1969, members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group are pictured flaunting their weapons in the mountains east of the Jordan River. Photo: Thomas R. Koeniges via Wikimedia Commons.

Palestinian NGO Addameer does not shy away from the media spotlight.

Invariably billed as a “human rights group” that supports Palestinian “prisoners” in Israeli jails, Addameer has been quoted by and given interviews to numerous mainstream news outlets, including the BBC, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

Last year, Addameer garnered even more headlines when it was among six NGOs that were designated as terror organizations in Israel, along with Al-Haq, Defense for Children International Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees — all due to links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Israel’s declaration provoked an unprecedented backlash from the international media, which, rather than attempting to ascertain whether Israel’s designations were valid, effectively launched an all-out PR campaign on behalf of the Palestinian NGOs.

The Guardian, for example, in addition to publishing numerous articles on the designation, posted an op-ed headlined, “By banning six Palestinian NGOs, Israel has entered a new era of impunity.”

In a similarly vitriolic vein, there was a Washington Post opinion piece by a Palestinian-American writer, Yousef Munayyer, titled, “Israel escalates its attacks against defenders of Palestinian rights, wherever they may be.”

A search of avowed BDS supporter Munayyer’s Twitter profile reveals that he frequently denigrates both “the Zionist right and liberal Zionists,” an indication that the existence of any Israeli — regardless of their political leanings — is not legitimate in Munayyer’s eyes.

The New York Times, for its part, published a guest essay that called Addameer and the other NGOs “stalwarts of Palestinian civil society.”

But behind the media’s agenda-driven facade there are the facts.

Addameer’s relationship with the PFLP is longstanding and deep-rooted. Numerous Addameer employees have been caught moonlighting as PFLP terrorists, including:

  • Khalida Jarrar, Deputy Director of Addameer’s Board of Directors until 2017, was a leader within PFLP’s ranks and served time in prison for inciting terrorism. She was arrested again in 2019 following the PFLP-perpetrated terror attack that killed Israeli teen Rina Schnerb in the West Bank;
  • Salah Hammouri, an Addameer Field Researcher, was arrested in 2005 over his connection to a terror cell that had plotted to assassinate former Israeli Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. Hammouri is said to have recruited operatives for the PFLP, and instructed them on how to commit terrorist atrocities;
  • Yaqoub Odeh, who serves on the Addameer Board of Directors and as a General Assembly member, was involved in the Jerusalem supermarket bombing in 1969 alongside Rasmea Odeh, which killed two Israelis and left nine others injured;
  • Mahmoud Jaddah, an Addameer Board of Directors member, was jailed for a series of terror attacks in Jerusalem, Hebron, and Tel Aviv;
  • Bashir al-Khairi, an Addameer Board of Directors member, was a senior PFLP operative, and served 17 years in prison for his involvement in the organization.

Aside from Addameer and the PFLP’s shared personnel, Addameer has also spent the last three decades fighting tooth and nail for the release of the perpetrators of horrific terror attacks — something that many mainstream publications have chosen to entirely gloss over.

A 2014 article in The Washington Post, for example, described Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri, who founded the group’s Qassam Brigades, as “enigmatic” before detailing how he was linked to the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers who were “shot at least 10 times with a silenced gun.”

Using photographs of Arouri that were provided by Addameer, the Post nonetheless failed to note that the group had in fact campaigned on his behalf. Addameer even once suggested that Arouri’s detention amounted to “individual punishment for his alleged affiliation to a Palestinian political party [Hamas] which continues to vocally resist Israel’s violent occupation of Palestinian territory.”

In 2011, The Guardian reported on the case of Dirar Abu Sisi, the “father of the rockets,” who was jailed for 21 years after having been responsible for building projectiles used to hit civilian population centers inside Israel. Again, the publication ignored Addameer’s prominent role in campaigning for Abu Sisi’s release.

In the aftermath of the 2014 Jerusalem synagogue attack in which two PFLP terrorists with axes, knives, and a gun killed five during a rampage on congregants who were in the middle of prayer, Addameer lambasted Israel for taking family members of one of the attackers into custody for questioning.

Given the disturbing ties to the PFLP and its fervent campaigning on behalf of terrorists belonging to other groups, one would think that news organizations with millions of readers and followers around the world would think twice before citing Addameer as an authoritative source.

Apparently, though, the mainstream media has something of a blind spot when it comes to Palestinian terrorism.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

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