The flag of Denmark.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Denmark will tighten the conditions for providing money to Palestinian NGOs, Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen said on Friday following a review of aid that came after revelations that European money went to a Palestinian women’s center named after a terrorist.
“It is important that there is confidence that Danish assistance is going for the right purposes,” Samuelsen said in a statement. “Therefore, I launched the Danish survey this summer, and today decided that there will be new and tight conditions for receiving Danish assistance in the future.”
Copenhagen will cut down on the number of Palestinian NGOs it supports, and they will come under “rigorous” supervision of where the funds are going, Samuelsen also said.
“Israeli and Palestinian civil society organizations can play a key role in attenuating and over time resolving the high-tension conflict between Israelis and Palestinians,” he said.
“Denmark supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and I am sure it will strengthen the work that we will focus on Danish assistance in the future, so we are absolutely sure that the money is being used for the right purposes.”
The review followed revelations in May that a women’s center partly funded with European aid money in Burka, northwest of Nablus, was named after Dalal Mughrabi, who took part in the Coastal Road massacre in 1978 that killed 37 people.
Samuelsen also said that the “majority of aid” suspended from the summer while the review was under way will not be paid.
The Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, which has for more than 10-years been following funding by Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, and the Netherlands to an Israeli-Palestinian NGO clearinghouse based in Ramallah that today goes by the name of the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat, praised the Danish step.
Daniel Laufer, a spokesman for NGO Monitor, said his organization identified grants by the Secretariat to NGOs “linked to the PFLP, which is listed on the EU's list of terror organizations, as well as others promoting incitement to violence, antisemitism, BDS, and anti-normalization. The evidence also revealed that managers of the Secretariat were similarly involved anti-Israel political warfare.”
Between 2006 and 2018, Denmark provided $12 million, of $45 million total budgeted to the Secretariat.
According to Laufer, “taken together with Norway's decision reversing participation in the Secretariat NGO funding mechanism, and with parliamentary scrutiny in Switzerland and the Netherlands, Denmark’s action highlights the belated awareness among Europeans of the need for due diligence and full transparency in NGO funding.”
Between the years 2014-2016, Laufer said, the Secretariat provided $530,000 to the Women's Affairs Technical Committee that named the center in Burka after Mugrabi.
Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan also applauded the Danish move, saying it is the “right and necessary step.”
“European countries fund Palestinian organizations that have a connection with terrorist elements and that are advancing boycotts of Israel,” he said. He called on other European countries to take similar measures.