Finnish NGO in violation of terrorism law for funding Hamas parlay?

It is unclear if the EU or the Finnish government will pursue legal action against the CMI for a possible violation of anti-terror laws.

January 22, 2017 01:07
2 minute read.
Palestinian Hamas militants take part in a rally in memory of their seven comrades

Palestinian Hamas militants take part in a rally in memory of their seven comrades, who were killed when a tunnel collapsed close to the Gaza Strip's eastern border with Israel. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The Finnish organization CMI doled out $18,177 to fund a meeting of the EU and US classified terrorist entity Hamas with the Palestinian Fatah party in Geneva, Switzerland in December, according to a Friday report in the Finland daily Kirkko ja kaupunki.

The Finnish organization Crisis Management Initiative (CMI), which is headed by Finland’s former president Martti Oiva Kalevi Ahtisaari, joined the Swiss government to organize the two day talks to unify the Gaza-based Hamas and the West Bank's Fatah party. The Swiss paid nearly $72,000 for the negotiations.

Prof. Gerald Steinberg, the head of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, told The Jerusalem Post on Friday: ”The ways in which European officials use NGO funding in the chaotic Middle East is very disturbing. This is the new form of colonialism and, as this case involving the governments of Finland and Switzerland shows, NGO activities can be used as a cover by terrorists -- for which there is no excuse.”

He added,”The claim that these activities contribute to peace is both morally unacceptable and baseless -- in decades of ‘negotiations’ involving PLO, Hamas and recently, PFLP officials, none of the Swiss and European efforts have succeeded. Millions of euros, Swiss francs, kroner etc. of taxpayer money are allocated for NGOs every year in top-secret processes without any parliamentary supervision. Nothing useful has been accomplished through these NGO-led talks between Palestinian factions, and it is possible that the process was exploited by the terrorists.”

Steinberg further noted, “ NGO Monitor has been calling for detailed independent examination of such funding in Switzerland and throughout Europe and this case makes emphasizes the urgency of this.”

The Basler Zeitung first published an account of the Hamas-Fatah meeting last week but the name of the Finnish NGO was not known at that point.

The spokesman for Israel’s ministry of foreign affairs Emmanuel Nahshon  told the Finnish paper that Hamas-Fatah meeting is an internal Palestinian affair.

The Palestinian terrorist organization Islamic Jihad was invited to the parley but cancelled its participation.

It is unclear if the EU or the Finnish government will pursue legal action against the CMI for a possible violation of anti-terror laws in the European Union. Post press queries to CMI were not immediately returned.

The Palestinian Center for Policy Research & Strategic Studies – Masarat played a key role in the development of the talks between Hamas and Fatah. Hani al-Masri, who oversees Masarat, was a member of the EU and the US-designated terrorist organization the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

In a 2015 article titled “Boycott: An Effective Weapon,” Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram quoted Masri as saying BDS “may change the whole situation, but only if used as an instrument of long-term strategy, not as a tactical way of improving the conditions of Palestinians living under occupation, or to enhance the terms of negotiations.”

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