Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has designated six major Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations. This means that their bank trades and the movements of their leaders and affiliates are now monitored and barred from operating in the country.
The evidence supporting Gantz’s move is astounding. The organizations in question–Addameer, al-Haq, Defense for Children Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Bisan Center for Research and Development, and the Union of Palestinian Women Committees—serve as the civilian arm of the terrorist organization the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), by providing it with a hybrid identity. Through this identity, it is able to gain credibility and rake in money from the United Nations and the European Union.
This money, according to Gantz, is spent on efforts to destroy Israel. The organizations in question claim to be filling a charitable role, accusing Israel of persecution and of violating democracy. They profess, of course, to be human-rights groups.
But Hezbollah, Hamas and the Taliban also tout their care for children, widows and the elderly, as NGO Monitor founder and president Gerald Steinberg, who has long investigated these and other non-governmental organizations, points out.
“Ten years ago, we presented the results to the E.U., and Federica Mogherini, the then High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security, told us that the evidence wasn’t sufficient,” NGO Monitor says on its website.
Meanwhile, today, the U.S. State Department is protesting that it was not informed of Gantz’s decision to outlaw the six NGOs—something that he denies.
It worth reminding those defending the NGOs that their mother organization, the PFLP, is responsible for a torrent of terrorist activity, including the 2001 murder of then-Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi; six suicide attacks during the Second Intifada that took the lives of 13 victims, three at the Machane Yehuda market in Jerusalem; the attempted killing of Sephardi Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef; and the 2014 ax, knife and gun attack on the Kehilat Yaakov synagogue in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood, resulting in the murder of five worshipers.
In addition, there was the August 2019 murder of 17-year-old Rina Shnerb—and wounding of her father and brother. The murderers are part of the E.U.-funded Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)—one of the six NGOs targeted by Gantz.
According to Steinberg, the paleo-Marxist, Ramallah-based PFLP–in competition with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction that doesn’t dare sideline it–was able to set up an autonomous network of self-legitimizng non-governmental organizations. Documents and photos prove, says Steinberg, that visiting diplomats from various countries have actually met with leaders of the PFLP, which in the last 10 years, has been given some 200 million euros ($232 million).
The administrative director of the UAWC, along with its accountant, was arrested and indicted by an Israeli military court for bomb attacks terrorist recruitment.
Hashem Abu Maria, the leader of Defense for Children International, died in a firefight with Israeli forces in 2014. The organization’s president was editor of the PFLP magazine. This NGO is funded directly by Italy.
The leaders of the UAWC are almost all members of the central committee and board of the PFLP. In addition, the vice president of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, already on the list of terrorist organizations, headed the military wing of the PFLP in Gaza and was sentenced to life in prison.
Al-Haq director Shawan Jabarin was accused of recruiting and organizing the training of PFLP members. Italy also directly finances Al-Haq.
The list is long, and speaks volumes.
The cloaking of terrorist groups in human-rights garb is an established practice for those who want to destroy Israel, and the cynicism of international politics not only enables pretending not to understand this reality, but helps the system.
So, the law goes to dust; the victim becomes persecutor; and the terrorist who ignores every democratic principle becomes the key protagonist of the NGO era.
It is sad that there are Israeli politicians who are, or should be, aware of the terrorist nature of these organizations, yet prefer to show how much they idolize the cause of “human rights.”
It is even more tragic that the term “human rights” has become a trap, creating an absurd inversion of the very real distinction between perpetrators and victims. The ongoing dispute over Gantz’s declaration should make the entire world tremble.
Journalist Fiamma Nirenstein was a member of the Italian Parliament (2008-13), where she served as vice president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Chamber of Deputies. She served in the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, and established and chaired the Committee for the Inquiry Into Anti-Semitism. A founding member of the international Friends of Israel Initiative, she has written 13 books, including “Israel Is Us” (2009). Currently, she is a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.