European-funded Arab non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are playing an active role in the campaign supporting the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) policy of paying convicted terrorists and their families, in direct opposition to their donors’ policies and human rights, reports the Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor.
The Palestinian Authority provides official salaries to convicted terrorists and/or their families. The salaries are graded such that the more severe the atrocity committed, the higher the pay.
NGO Monitor research demonstrates that the self-described human rights NGOs Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Al-Haq, Hurryyat, and Al-Dameer argue that any halt in payment of salaries violates international law and the terrorists’ “rights.”
“In sharp contrast to the organizations’ stated human rights missions, a number of Palestinian NGOs receiving European government funding assert that terrorists have a ‘right’ to receive salaries and that suspending these payments is a violation of international law,” says NGO Monitor President Prof. Gerald Steinberg. “NGO officials have also not questioned the legitimacy of Palestinian violence, and some of their statements can be interpreted as veiled threats meant to prevent an end to payments.”
On July 28, PCHR’s Director Raji Sourani, who himself has been convicted for membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization, called a decision to stop payments to prisoners “shocking,” and said “it is illegal, immoral, and violates the Basic Law and the international human rights law.”
Director of Al-Haq Shawan Jabarin, who also has alleged ties to the PFLP terror group, on July 7 stated that “if their rights are eroded we are heading for a real crisis in Palestinian society and in due course toward an explosion.”
Hurryyat and Al-Dameer issued similar statements.
Each of these NGOs receives funding from the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat – a joint NGO funding mechanism of the governments of Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. Al-Haq and PCHR are also funded by Norway.
As donors to the Palestinian Authority, the European Union and Norway have both denied intentionally funding the PA’s prisoner salaries and have condemned it. The UK, Germany, and the Netherlands have similarly taken steps to examine or halt payments to convicted terrorists, while in the United States, the proposed Taylor Force Act would deny foreign aid to the PA until prisoner salaries are halted.
“Government opposition to the PA’s policy of paying salaries to convicted terrorists ought to be self-evident,” said Prof. Steinberg, “and the same should be true for the human rights NGOs they fund. These organizations must recognize the fundamental contradiction between human rights and incentivizing terrorism through the policy of providing convicted terrorists with substantial salaries.”