NGOs: sanitisers of terror

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Last year the Israeli government designated six organisations, linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) as terrorist organizations

While there was some controversy over the poor communication around announcing the decision, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked stated, 

Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s is an important move that is based on solid intelligence from the Shin Bet [security agency] and [the IDF] General Staff…For years, these organizations disguised themselves as ‘human rights’ groups that actually aid terror activities by the PFLP and fuel support for the [anti-Israel] BDS [movement]. Many countries have funded these organizations and it is good that they are putting an end to it.

Last week, the IDF raided the offices of some of these Palestinian groups in Ramallah and confiscated various materials. In a clear affront to Israel’s sovereign right to make such rulings, seventeen European ambassadors reacted against Israel’s actions and informed the Israeli Foreign Ministry that they do not accept the terror designation and will continue to fund the Palestinian organizations. 

While these European diplomats may not have access to the information gathered by Israeli intelligence, there is abundant publicly available information to support Israel’s claims.  

NGO Monitor research has identified a network of 13 NGOs that have substantial ties to the PFLP – designated as a terrorist organization by the EU, US, Canada, and Israel. Notably, New Zealand does not align with the other Five Eyes countries on this matter.

In some instances, the NGOs were founded by the PFLP itself; in others, PFLP members serve as staff, on the boards, and in key decision making and financial roles. Ignoring these clear links, European governments and foundations continue to fund and cooperate with these NGOs, as officials deny the significance of the links with the PFLP and assert that the ties have long since lapsed.

NGO Monitor had also identified, through open source information, over 70 individuals, including staff and board members, as well as other officials who held positions in both the NGOs and the PFLP. 

Video evidence shows a number of these NGO officials attending a 2020 event organised by the terrorist group, PFLP.   https://www.ngo-monitor.org/reports/video-links-palestinian-ngos-pflp/

At least four of the NGO officials who attended this event were subsequently indicted on charges of being members of a PFLP terror cell. Some are standing trial for their direct involvement in the August 2019 murder of a 17-year-old Israeli girl.

Predictably, New Zealand commentators and media have seized the opportunity to pass judgment on Israel’s actions. As far as we can tell, no-one seems to have done any independent research to determine whether Israel might have a case, and, apparently, nor have they considered the evidence provided by NGO monitor. 

Sadly, Israel is surrounded by implacable enemies opposed to her existence, many ready and willing to engage in terrorist activity. Nineteen Israelis were killed by terrorists earlier this year – this was also largely ignored by NZ media. It seems that Israeli lives hold a lesser value, and that Israel’s right to defend its citizens from bombs, rockets, and knives, is little recognised. 

The NGO halo effect can provide a convenient cover for questionable activities and judgements (as Amnesty International’s recent Ukrainian report has demonstrated).  Fortunately, there are plenty of bona fide humanitarian groups in Israel and the Palestinian territories, working for the benefit of Palestinians. Western commentators would do well to resist the habit of automatically condemning Israel, do their own research and distinguish between legitimate and nefarious groups.