The Biden administration is claiming that Israel has not provided evidence that the seven NGOs whose offices it closed down last week were tied to a terror group. Yet there is a mountain of publicly-available evidence proving the existence of such ties—and some of it comes from the U.S. government itself.
The administration was clear in its support of the NGOs. U.S. State Department Spokesman Ned Price said the administration “voiced our concern” about Israel’s actions. Disputing Israel’s assertion that the groups were connected to the terrorist organization the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Price claimed that “we don’t have that information yet.”
For anyone who has forgotten, the PFLP was a pioneer of the infamous airline hijackings of the 1960s and 1970s. More recently, its bloody record included the murder of an Israeli cabinet minister in October 2001 and the massacre of five rabbis in November 2014, including American citizens, in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood.
If Ned Price and other Biden administration officials are genuinely interested in learning about NGO ties to the PFLP, they should start by picking up the phone and calling the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Back in 1993, USAID carried out an audit to determine if any of the Palestinian charities funded by the United States were involved in terrorism. The audit determined that both the Union of Agricultural Work Committees and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees—two of the groups Israel shut down this week—were “affiliates” of the PFLP.
In addition, the Dutch government and the charity World Vision Australia have cut ties with the Union of Agricultural Work Committees due to its PFLP affiliation.
Here’s a sample of the mountain of evidence that the other groups Israel closed down were also connected to the PFLP. This isn’t top-secret information. It’s readily available on the website of the watchdog group NGO Monitor. The State Department has just as much access to it as I do.
Al-Haq. This group’s executive director, Shawan Jabarin, has been convicted of recruiting and training PFLP terrorists. The government of Jordan—the same Jordan that the Biden administration tells us is moderate, reasonable and trustworthy—has denied exit visas to Jabarin because of his PFLP ties.
In 2018, Mastercard, Visa and American Express barred credit-card donations to Al-Haq because of its connection to the PFLP. Such transactions are the lifeblood of credit card companies. They wouldn’t be depriving themselves of business revenue unless they were absolutely certain Al-Haq was involved with terrorists.
Addameer. The Fatah Party, chaired by Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas, has identified Addameer as an “affiliate” of the PFLP. The NGO provides free legal aid to PFLP terrorists, and staff members Khalida Jarrar, Naser Abu Khdair and Bashir al-Kahiri joined the PFLP’s list of candidates for the 2021 Palestinian legislative elections.
Moreover, the U.S. government itself blocked Addameer’s application to be a consultant to the U.N. Economic and Social Council until it “clarified its affiliation with the PFLP.” Addameer chose not to provide the clarification; instead, it withdrew its application.
Bisan Center for Research and Discovery. The center’s executive director, Ubai Aboudi, recently completed a jail sentence after he was convicted of being a PFLP “member and an activist.” Aboudi’s successor, Itiraf Hajaj, is currently imprisoned for his PFLP activities. How many more executive directors of the Center need to be convicted before the Biden administration acknowledges that the center has at least some connection to the PFLP?
Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP). When DCIP staff member Hashem Abu Maria was killed while attacking Israelis in Beit Ummar, the PFLP praised him as one of its “leaders.” Another DCIP staff member, Nassar Ibrahim, was editor of the PFLP’s weekly newspaper. DCIP board member Mahmoud Jiddah spent 17 years in jail for throwing grenades at Israelis. Board member Mary Rock and staff member Samer Ajaj have been candidates on PFLP election lists. Convicted PFLP terrorist Shawan Jabarin (now director of Al-Haq) previously served on DCIP’s board.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network. In 2016, the PFLP itself publicly expressed gratitude to Samidoun for the NGO’s support. The PFLP flag is displayed at Samidoun press conferences. Speakers at Samidoun events have included such notorious PFLP terrorists as hijacker Leila Khaled. In 2019, PayPal, Donor Box and Plaid stopped accepting donations to Samidoun because of its ties to the PFLP. Samidoun’s coordinator for Europe has said that PFLP Central Committee member Khaled Barakat is running Samidoun’s campaign to free imprisoned PFLP leader Ahmad Saadat.
Given this mountain of evidence, why is the Biden administration claiming that there is no evidence that these NGOs are tied to the PFLP? Why is the State Department going out of its way to portray Israel as an oppressor and depict these terror affiliates as innocent human rights groups? Why is our government, which has pledged to fight terrorism, undermining Israel’s counterterror actions? These questions demand answers.
Stephen M. Flatow is an attorney and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is the author of A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terrorism.