The Palestinian flag is raised at UNESCO in Paris 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier)
The Palestinian Authority has plans to use an international human rights
organization as a front for intelligence gathering and discrediting Amnesty
International and Human Rights Watch, according to documents leaked to a number
of Palestinian news websites over the weekend.
The documents also
appeared on the PA’s official news agency Wafa, but were quickly removed under
the pretext that they are “fabrications.”
The agency claimed that hackers
infiltrated its website and posted the documents.
Earlier, the agency
announced that the PA has decided to establish a commission of inquiry to look
into the documents out of fear that the case could embarrass the Palestinian
leadership in Ramallah. Later, however, the agency removed the report, again
claiming that it had been planted on its website by hackers.
said on Saturday that the documents were released by supporters of former Fatah
strongman Muhammad Dahlan and Muhammad Rashid, who for many years was Yasser
Arafat’s financial adviser.
Both Dahlan and Rashid are staunch rivals of
PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
The two men are also wanted by the PA for
their role in corruption and embezzlement of public funds.
There was no
way to verify the authenticity of the leaked documents.
According to the
documents, the PA’s General Intelligence Service in the West Bank is planning to
use the Global Network for Rights and Development as a front for espionage activities.
GNRD was established in Geneva in 2008 with the
aim of enhancing and supporting human rights and development by adopting new,
creative strategies and policies to achieve lasting change.
are said to be part of a “classified report” prepared by the PA’s General
Department of Palestinian External Security.
The plan envisages using
GNRD as a front for the establishment of an “effective and credible
international human rights group that would be based in Geneva and whose goal
would be to defend Palestinian causes” and collect information.
of the project is estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars.
report points out the important role of NGOs’ in shaping public opinion and
affecting decision-making worldwide.
“These NGOs have a green card to
enter any place in the world and operate freely under various pretexts,” the
report said. “But we in Palestine are lacking many elements of
The report claimed that many Western countries, including France,
Britain and the US, have been using human rights organizations as a “striking
arm” to affect policies around the world and remove governments from power. The
report referred specifically to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and
claims that they are funded and backed by Britain and the US,
The report recommended that the PA set up a similar
“striking arm” that would operate out of Geneva and have representation in at
least 50 countries. It said that the main mission would be to gather
intelligence with the help of Western nationals.