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May 7, 2021 » Today News »

Four Palestinians to be charged with diverting European humanitarian aid to terrorism

Four Palestinians to be charged with diverting European humanitarian aid to terrorism

 Affected Countries: palestine; belgium;

Four Palestinians are expected to be indicted for funneling European humanitarian aid to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a designated terrorist group, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced on Thursday.

Charges are set to be brought against the suspects in the Judea Military Court in the coming days.

The Foreign Ministry summoned European ambassadors to demand that their countries stop funding organizations that funnel money to the PFLP.

The PFLP’s “method of deception,” as the Shin Bet called it, worked in several European countries, bringing in millions of Euros, much of which was used to commit acts of terror.

The Shin Bet, together with the IDF and police, found that the funding was sent to Palestinian organizations in the West Bank – particularly one called Health Work Committees – that are affiliated with the PFLP, designated a terrorist organization by the EU, US, Canada, and others.

The Shin Bet said it has materials documenting the lengths to which the organizations went to mislead European countries, including diverting large sums of money from European governmental institutions to terrorism. The Palestinian NGOs generated reports of fictional projects, false documents, forged bank authorizations and more.

The European funds were used to fund attacks and buildup of forces, subsidize families of PFLP terrorists, pay salaries to activists, expand recruitment activities, and promote the group’s ideology.

“The extensive financial activities promoted by the PFLP are part of a long line of terrorist actions that were stopped by the Shin Bet in recent years,” said a senior source in the security agency. “The PFLP is a murderous terrorist organization that among other attacks, is responsible for the bombing in 2019 that murdered Rena Schnerb while she was hiking with her family.”

The four suspects are Tisir Abu Sharbak, 47, of Ramallah, a PFLP member and the Health Work Committees’ accountant; Saeed Abdat, 46, from Ramallah, a PFLP member and the Health Work Committees’ former accountant; Amro Hamuda, from Al-Bira, a PFLP member and former procurement manager for the Health Work Committees; and Hoani Rashmawi, 63, of Tzahor, a citizen of Spain who was in charge of fundraising in Europe for the Health Work Committees.

The Foreign Ministry presented to the European representatives the Shin Bet findings, and made clear the severity with which Israel views the situation. Israel demanded they freeze funding to the relevant humanitarian aid groups immediately, and for there to be tighter oversight in the future.

From 2014 to 2021, the governments of Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Germany, France, Norway, Switzerland and the EU provided over 200 million euros to the PFLP’s NGO network, including to the Health Work Committees, according to research by NGO Monitor, an Israeli think tank focused on the sources and uses of civic society organizations’ funding.

NGO Monitor found connections between 70 NGO officials and the PFLP, including some who were directly involved in Schnerb’s murder.

“For 20 years… the Europeans continued to turn a blind eye to the clear terror links, claiming ‘there was no evidence’,” said NGO Monitor president Gerald Steinberg. “Now that the details are in full view, perhaps the governments will finally freeze these funds and establish evaluation mechanisms that are consistent with the principles of good governance, transparency and due diligence.”

“We take any allegations and indications of links to terrorist organizations very seriously and continuously review Germany’s local partner organizations for humanitarian aid and development cooperation in the Palestinian Territories in order to ensure that German government funds are only used for the designated purposes,” the official said.

The EU said it is “at the forefront of global anti-terrorism efforts, with an unrelenting commitment to the fight against terrorism. We welcome substantial dialogue with the Israeli authorities on safeguards and their specific concerns…The EU has offered and intends to establish a full-fledged dialogue on these matters. As a matter of course we look into each and every allegation made. We are studying the specific materials shared with us.”

If the EU has already suspended two ongoing projects to audit their activities, and if it finds that funds were used inappropriately, it plans to take immediate action “to protect the integrity and proper use of its funded” a spokesman said.

Source: JP

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