The government plans to send Foreign Ministry and Shin Bet representatives to Washington in the coming days to provide further intelligence on how six Palestinian NGOs, claiming to be human rights groups, funneled funds to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, designated a terrorist group by Israel, the US, the EU and more.
A senior diplomatic-security source said the case against the organizations – Addameer, Al Haq, Bisan Center, Defense for Children International -Palestine (DCI-P), Union Of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC) – is “cast in concrete,” and provided The Jerusalem Post with parts of the intelligence the Shin Bet representative plans to show Washington, which the source argued demonstrate an “unambiguous and direct” connection between the NGOs in question and the PFLP.
The Justice and Defense Ministries issued documents on Friday classifying the six Palestinian NGOs as branches of the PFLP. US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that the US supports a strong civil society and respect for human rights, and will “be engaging our Israeli partners for more information regarding the basis for these designations.” However, senior Israeli defense sources said that the US had been informed in advance of the move to ban the groups.
Israel is aware of the significance of banning civil society groups, the source said, but the PFLP had adopted a modus operandi of using such groups to launder funding for terror activities.
“Israel has the responsibility to defend itself and the lives of its citizens and to fight terror everywhere and from every aspect,” the source stated.
Among the items the government is using to show the connection between the organizations and the PFLP is a video from the Palestinian Wattan Media Network of leading figures in the NGOs, including Khaleeda Jarrar and Abdullatif Ghaith of Addameer, Shawan Jabarin of Al-Haq, Gebril Muhamad of Bisan, and Ahmad Saadat of the UPWC, at an event in a hall with dozens of PFLP flags hanging.
Think tank NGO Monitor noted the organizations’ leaders’ presence at the PFLP event in a post on its website last year.
The event in Ramallah honored PFLP political bureau member Rabah Muhanna who, according to information posted by the PFLP, took part in the establishment of Addameer, UHWC and UAWC.
The PFLP is outlawed in Israel, the US, the EU, Canada, Australia and Japan, and is responsible for a series of hijackings in the 1960s.
More recently, PFLP terrorist attacks included the assassination of Israeli minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001, suicide bombings during the Second Intifada that killed 10 Israelis, an attempt to assassinate former chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef, and the 2011 murder of five members of the Fogel family – parents and three children, one of whom was an infant.
In 2019, the PFLP planted a bomb, killing 17-year-old Rina Shnerb and injuring her relatives.
UAWC’s Finance and Administration director Abdul Razeq Farraj was indicted in October 2019 on four counts, including aiding an attempt to cause death in the terrorist attack on the Shnerb family. Farraj’s indictment refers to Ubai Aboudi, a PFLP member working with Farraj on recruitment, and the UAWC’s Monitoring and Evaluation Officer until April 2019. The commander of the PFLP terror cell that prepared and detonated the bomb was Samer Arbid, an accounted for UAWC at the time of his 2019 arrest.
Contrary to reports of discord between the relevant government ministries, the ban of the NGOs was coordinated between the Prime Minister’s Office, Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministries, as is the follow-up, sending intelligence officers and diplomats to Washington.