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German minister defies Berlin on Israel’s terror listing of Palestinian NGOs

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser's position has put her at odds with the foreign office.

Members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) take part in a military show in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip to celebrate the 47th anniversary of the group's founding, Dec. 11, 2014. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
Members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) take part in a military show in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip to celebrate the 47th anniversary of the group's founding, Dec. 11, 2014. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.

Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Interior believes Israel provided sufficient evidence to justify its listing of several Palestinian non-governmental organizations as terrorist entities, Der Spiegel reported.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser’s position reportedly has put her at odds with Berlin’s foreign office, which previously condemned Israel’s move.

On Oct. 22, 2021, Israel listed six Palestinian NGOs as terror groups over their ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP): Addameer, al-Haq, Defense for Children Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, and the Union of Palestinian Women Committees.

“Those organizations were active under the cover of civil society organizations, but in practice belong and constitute an arm of the [PFLP] leadership, the main activity of which is the ‘liberation’ of Palestine and destruction of Israel,” said then-Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

The E.U., U.S., Canada and Israel have all designated the PFLP as a terrorist organization. However, on July 12, 2022, nine European governments, including Germany, formally rejected Israel’s decision.

“No substantial information was received from Israel that would justify reviewing our policy towards the six Palestinian NGOs on the basis of the Israeli decision to designate these NGOs as ‘terrorist organizations,'” the countries said in a joint statement at the time.

The German Foreign Ministry’s support for the statement has caused a “severe” rift within the government, Der Spiegel reported. “According to [Interior Minister] Faeser’s experts, the evidence against the six NGOs is so incriminating that it could be used in a German court,” added the report.

“The Israelis also provided concrete indications how European taxpayers’ money could be used for terror purposes,” said the report, which estimated that 50 to 70 percent of European aid to the six organizations ended up in the coffers of terrorists.

“This article comes a few months after NGO Monitor Vice President Olga Deutsch presented our research on the links between these NGOs and the PFLP terror organization to German officials,” an NGO Monitor official told JNS.

According to the watchdog group’s 85-page report published in February, titled “Clear and Convincing: The Links between the PFLP and the European Government-funded NGO Network,” the E.U.’s position on the matter is “untenable.”

The report identified at least 60 Palestinian NGO officials with links to the PFLP, including some convicted for planning or conducting terrorist attacks, such as the August 2019 murder of 17-year-old Rina Shnerb.

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