Foreign Minister Israel Katz: EU most stop funding terrorists

EU ambassador reprimanded following official letter saying Palestinians with terror affiliations can take part in EU-funded projects.

Head of the EU delegation to Israel Emanuele Giaufret and Israeli students  (photo credit: YOSSY ZWECKER)
Head of the EU delegation to Israel Emanuele Giaufret and Israeli students
(photo credit: YOSSY ZWECKER)
The European Union must stop any form of support for terrorists, Foreign Minister Israel Katz demanded on Thursday, in response to a letter stating that Palestinians affiliated with terrorist groups may participate in EU activities.
"We demand the EU immediately stop all support, monetary or other, for any factor that supports terrorism directly or indirectly," Katz said. "Experience teaches us that terrorism and any aid to terrorism will bring more terrorism."
Katz's comments came after the Foreign Ministry reprimanded EU Ambassador to Israel  Emanuele Giaufret over the letter. The summons came late Wednesday night, hours after media reports about the letter. Foreign Ministry Deputy director-general for Europe Anna Azari, told Giaufret that "Israel categorically opposes the EU's policy in relation to funding terrorist organizations, which is an inspiration for incitement, support and involvement in terrorism."
Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff, EU representative to the West Bank and Gaza, wrote in an official letter to the Palestinian NGO Network, dated March 30, that all EU-funded projects, including by Palestinian organizations, must follow EU law, such as a ban on funding terrorist groups. However, the letter points out that there are no Palestinian individuals on the EU’s “restrictive measures list” barring funds to terrorists, such that the NGOs would not be penalized if members of terrorist groups benefit from EU funding.
Charlie Weimers, a conservative member of the European Parliament, challenged European Commissioners: “Will you take action and create legal obstacles to people affiliated with terrorist groups participating in activities that the EU funds? Will you make sure that European taxpayers don’t fund terrorists?”
Weimars is working to draft a cross-party letter for MEPs opposing EU aid going to people affiliated with terrorist organizations.
The MEP called on the European Parliament to request a new report on EU funding for the Palestinian Authority to detail how European taxpayers’ money is being used.
“The last report in 2013 documented corruption and misuse of aid,” he said.

Von Burgsdorff’s letter to Palestinian NGOs reads: “While the entities and groups included in the EU restrictive lists cannot benefit from EU-funded activities, it is understood that a natural person affiliated to, sympathizing with or supporting any of the groups or entities mentioned in the EU restrictive lists is not excluded from benefiting from EU-funded activities, unless his/her exact name and surname... corresponds to any of the natural persons on the EU restrictive list.”
The letter also states that “the EU does not ask any civil society organization to change its political position towards any Palestinian faction or to discriminate against any natural person based on his/her political affiliation.”
The message came after months of protests by Palestinian NGOs demanding that the EU erase a stipulation that aid only be sent to organizations with no ties to EU-designated terrorist groups.
The Palestinian organizations claimed that terrorist groups like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – which is designated a terrorist group in the EU, US, Canada and Israel and is responsible for many terrorist attacks on Israelis – are political parties.
EU sources insisted that while the letter says there is no legal obstacle to people affiliated with terrorist groups participating in activities they fund, the use of their aid money is carefully vetted.
“There is no legal impediment to individuals who are not named in the restrictive measures list to participate in EU funded activities, except for representatives of listed organizations,” a spokesperson for the EU Embassy to Israel stated. “The EU does not fund any activity that is related directly or indirectly to violence or incitement. EU support is subject to stringent and permanent monitoring and both ex-ante and ex-post verification.”
Olga Deutsch, vice president of NGO Monitor, a research institution dedicated to foreign funding of NGOs, warned that “the EU should be careful not to surrender to local pressure, from Palestinians or anyone else, and make sure public funds do not end up in the hands of those connected to or supporting terror.”
In a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen last week, Deutsch and NGO Monitor President Prof. Gerald Steinberg said a number of organizations with ties to the PFLP, an EU-designated terrorist group, receive funding directly from the EU or indirectly via the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO).
Among them are Health Work Committees, which received a €700,000 grant from the EU in 2017-2019. Walid Hanatsheh, HWC’s financial and administrative director and PNGO board member, is a member of the PFLP who planned terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians, including the August 2019 bomb attack and murder of Israeli teenager Rena Shnerb.