Israel has just declared that it has found six Palestinian NGOs to be terrorist organizations affiliated with the Popular Front For the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and as a consequence, has outlawed them. This has raised a furor of indignation, as Palestinians and their willing collaborators are seething with outrage at what they deplore as totally inexplicable and unacceptable. A report on this latest Israeli “atrocity” is here: “US slams Israel for declaring Palestinian NGOs arms of terror group,” by Michael Starr, Khaled Abu Toameh, Anna Ahronheim, and Omri Nahmias, Jerusalem Post, October 24, 2021:
The United States will engage Israel in seeking more information about the designation of six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Friday.
That was an unexpected, because a good and measured, statement from the State Department. The Bidenites have so far refused to condemn, but asked only that more information – i.e., evidence accumulated by Shin Bet that Israel would obviously not release publicly — be supplied to Washington. That’s a reasonable request.
Addameer, Al Haq, Bisan Center, DCI-P, Samidoun and UAWC, were declared by the Justice and Defense Ministries on Friday to be affiliated with the terrorist organization the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
“We will be engaging our Israeli partners for more information regarding the basis for the designation,” Price said on a regular briefing call.
Price said Washington was not given advance warning of the designation, a move that drew criticism from the United Nations Human Rights Office, which said it was “alarmed” at the announcement.
“Counter-terrorism legislation must not be used to constrain legitimate human rights and humanitarian work,” it said, adding that some of the reasons given appeared vague or irrelevant.
It’s unclear whether the UN is “alarmed” at the fact that Washington was not given “advance warning” or at the fact of the Israeli announcement itself. But why should the U.N. be “alarmed” when it hasn’t yet seen any of the information on the suspect workings of these six NGOs? Until it has seen the evidence, it’s preposterous for the U.N., or any of its members, to express “alarm.” How dare the UN Human Rights Office declare, from its high horse, that “counter-terrorism legislation must not be used to constrain legitimate human rights and humanitarian work”? What if the NGOs’ “human rights and humanitarian work” is not their real reason for being, but merely a deceptive front for what they are really up to, which Israel has said is furthering the malignant plans of the PFLP, a recognized terror group?
“These designations are the latest development in a long stigmatizing campaign against these and other organizations, damaging their ability to deliver on their crucial work,” it [the Human Rights Council] said….
What the U.N.Human Rights Council is doing is uncritically accepting, and trumpeting, the Palestinian claim that Israel malignantly “stigmatizes” NGOs engaged in their “crucial work” of “human rights” and other good things. But there are more than 500 Palestinian NGOs, and Israel has described only six of them, based on the evidence gathered, as terrorist organizations because of the help they give the PFLP, a recognized terror group. This is done not to “stigmatize” them, but to alert the world that these six NGOs are not what they purport to be (just as sinister CAIR is far more than an “Islamic civil rights group”). Israel will no doubt share in confidence with Washington the detailed evidence for Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s claims, but will be more circumspect with what it reveals to the U.N. Sources and methods, after all, have to be protected.
“This appalling and unjust decision [to outlaw six NGOs as “terrorist organizations”] is an attack by the Israeli government on the international human rights movement,” Human Rights Watch, which reportedly works closely with many of the affected NGOs, said in a statement.
Human Rights Watch, under its Executive Director Kenneth Roth, who has headed the group for 27 years, is well known for its deep animus to the Jewish state. It routinely accuses Israel of “crimes against humanity,” including “persecution and apartheid.” I won’t bother reciting its litany of lies, nor stop to ponder the reasons for Roth’s (his father was a Jewish refugee from Germany) obsessive attention to Israel. But HRW spends more time, for its soi-disant “crimes against humanity,” on Israel than it does on the human rights violations of China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, and Pakistan put together.
HRW calls Israel’s decision to describe these six NGOs as collaborating with the PFLP an “appalling and unjust decision.”
“How the international community responds will be a true test of its resolve to protect human rights defenders. We are proud to work with our Palestinian partners and have been doing so for decades. They represent the best of global civil society. We stand with them in challenging this outrageous decision.”
How does Human Rights Watch know that Israel’s decision to accuse the six NGOs of being affiliated with the terror group PFLP is “appalling and unjust”? HRW hasn’t seen any of the evidence Israel has gathered on these NGOs, the evidence that led Benny Gantz to his decision to so describe — and outlaw — them. But Human Rights Watch, we have known for many years, doesn’t want to be confused with facts when it comes to Israel. It wants to condemn, denounce, anathematize.
The Defense Ministry charges that the organizations serve as a network on the world stage working undercover as civil society organizations to support the PFLP and pursue its interests.
The NGOs allegedly serve as a branch of PFLP’s leadership. Members of the PFLP serve as senior officials in the groups, and they have employed field activists who have participated in acts of terrorism.
The NGOs are also accused of serving as sources of income for the PFLP, funneling donations from European states and international organizations to the terrorist group. According to a ministry press statement, this is done through forgery and other means of deceit. Some of the funding is also alleged to have been diverted to provide stipends for the families of deceased Palestinian terrorists, as well as promotion of terrorism and violent ideologies….
Israel would not make such charges unless it had irrefutable proof. It knows perfectly well the furor such charges would cause, and that it would have to share the details of its evidence with its one indispensable ally – the United States.
If it charges that PFLP members serve “as senior officials in the [six]groups,” Israel must have clear and convincing evidence of those PFLP members working at those six NGOs, proof that it will share with Washington, which is the only audience the Israelis need worry about. These NGOs have also had on their staffs people who have actively “participated in acts of terrorism.” One can imagine the kind of evidence the Shin Bet has assembled, from membership rolls, to written records, hidden wires that record conversations, CCTV and other usual evidence and, of course, information provided by informers both in the PFLP and in the six NGOs.
“Although the PFLP is a declared terrorist organization in the United States, Israel, Canada, and the European Union, many European governments have continued to invest in PFLP-linked NGOs for 20 years, severely exploiting their taxpayers’ money,” Professor Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor said Friday on the connection between PFLP and the NGOs. “These recurring cases point to a widespread phenomenon and it is time for Europeans to freeze grants and set up independent mechanisms for evaluating funding for NGOs.”
In October 2019, Samer Arbid, an accountant for UAWC [one of the six NGOs], was arrested for detonating the bomb that killed 17-year-old Israeli Rina Shnerb and injured members of her family. Abdul Razeq Farraj, UAWC’s Finance and Administration director was also indicted for his involvement in the terrorist attack. The Netherlands had been funding the organization but suspended donations pending an investigation.
In May, 2021, four Palestinians were arrested by the Shin Bet for diverting European humanitarian aid through NGOs to the PFLP….
Along with all the other help it provides to the PFLP, the six NGOs identified by Israel serve as conduits for the transfer of European financial aid to the PFLP. Not all these European donors are innocent; some of them likely know where part of their aid money ends up, and don’t appear to care enough to raise the issue with those NGOs. Professor Gerald Steinberg, the president of NGO Monitor, insists that there ought to be some “independent mechanisms” – outside parties – who will evaluate the need for, and purpose of, funding, and the record of what has been funded in the past, by a particular NGO, with particular attention focussed on those Palestinian NGOs that the Israelis deem most suspect.
The Palestinian Authority on Friday condemned Israel’s decision to outlaw six NGOs affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) as an “unhinged assault on Palestinian civil society.”
An “unhinged assault” on Palestinian society? Or the result of years of careful investigation by the Shin Bet into six of the more than 500 Palestinian NGOs? Does identifying as terrorist organizations six NGOs out of 500 sound like an “unhinged assault on Palestinian civil society” to you?
The PA Foreign Ministry said in a statement that “this fallacious and libelous slander is a strategic assault on Palestinian civil society and the Palestinian people’s fundamental right to oppose Israel’s illegal occupation and expose its continuing crimes.”
The ministry said that the move is “the latest in a systemic and relentless campaign against Palestinian civil society organizations and leading human rights defenders.”
The PA Foreign Ministry has things backwards. It is these Palestinian NGOs, hiding behind the façade of defending human rights, that have been weaponized and sent into battle against the Jewish state. Israel has no objection to real human rights NGOs, and in fact encourages them to speak up for the Palestinians against their rapacious and corrupt leaders, such as Mahmoud Abbas, who has refused to call elections in sixteen years and, when challenged on social media by a popular dissident, Nizar Banat, had that challenger murdered, something even Putin has not yet done with his own dissidents.
The ministry warned of “possible serious consequences from this unprecedented assault” and held Israel fully responsible for the safety of the organizations’ staff.
The PA needn’t worry. The Israelis have outlawed six NGOs – about 1% of the total number– for being collaborators with the terrorist PFLP, but the PA Foreign Minister surely knows that there will be no physical assault on any of those NGO members. The Israelis have no doubt taken from the NGO offices all the documents they needed for their investigation; that is the extent of the “violence” they will visit on the members of those six NGOs. That, and sealing the doors of the NGO offices.
It [the PA Foreign Ministry] called on the international community to rise to the occasion and defend these organizations’ right “to work without persecution and the Palestinian people’s fundamental right to advocate for their freedom.”
Would that the Palestinian Foreign Ministry had protected the “Palestinian people’s fundamental right to advocate for their freedom” when the plan was hatched for the murder of Nizar Banat by Abbas’ goons. Those NGOs can do all they want to genuinely “advocate for their freedom,” but they are not allowed to help the PFLP, through funding and other means, to commit acts of terrorism. A line must be drawn. Israel has just drawn it.
Israel will now share with the Americans the information it gathered that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt the links between these six NGOs and the PFLP; the Americans will have to announce that “we have seen the evidence and it is clear and convincing” that these “six NGOs were indeed involved in helping the PFLP.” Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib will be furious. So will Linda Sarsour, Roger Waters, and Ibrahim Hooper. So will Mahmoud Abbas. Too bad. Israel will not share the details of its investigation with others, and especially not with anyone at the U.N., or at Human Rights Watch, for that would compromise its sources and methods, in what would surely be a vain attempt to convince them that Israel has drawn the right conclusions from the evidence it has gathered. It doesn’t matter. The terrorists in suits have now been taken to the cleaners. As so often when it comes to Palestinian outrage, real or feigned, the dogs bark, the caravan moves on.