Photo Credit: courtesy, European Parliament
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas receives a standing ovation at the European Parliament in Brussels, after falsely claiming in his 2016 speech that Israeli rabbis were calling to poison Palestinian water. Abbas later recanted and admitted that his claim had been false.

The European Union is probing reports raised by the NGO Monitor that some of its funding is being channeled into the hands of terrorist organizations, rather than the NGO for which it was intended.

Following an exposé by the NGO Monitor revealing the European Union representative to the Palestinian Authority was defying EU anti-terror restrictions (details below), a senior EU official has told a European Parliament Committee there will be an investigation.

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Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi said during a May 19, 2020 meeting of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) that he had instructed the heads of EU delegations to Israel and West Bank/ Gaza to “look deep” in to the allegations that some EU funds go to terror-linked or -supporting NGOs, declaring that such funding “will not be tolerated.”

This followed concerns raised by Members of the European Parliament and civil society over a “clarification letter regarding the EU-funded contracts” sent on March 30, 2020 by the EU Representative Office to the West Bank and Gaza to Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) – an umbrella organization of 135 Palestinian Authority NGOs.

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In the letter, the EU diplomats appear to give in to Palestinian Authority pressure and effectively annul EU regulations that prohibit the transfer of EU funds to terror groups or individuals connected to these groups (what Palestinian NGOs label “political parties” and “resistance factions”), according to the NGO Monitor.

After the letter was made public in Israeli media, the EU Ambassador to Israel was summoned for a demarche at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

At least five organizational members of PNGO reported ties to EU-designated terror groups, including employees and/or board members who are directly involved in the activities and programs. Outside the PNGO framework, various Palestinian NGOs and humanitarian groups are affiliated with the PFLP.

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Annual EU funding to Palestinian NGOs was supplemented on April 9 with a massive emergency package to the PA of “around €71 million in response to the coronavirus pandemic,” including “€6.9 million in humanitarian aid” to unnamed “non-governmental organizations and UN agencies already present on the ground in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”

As a result of the “clarification letter,” it appears that EU policy will allow Palestinian Authority NGOs that are affiliated with terrorist groups or employ individuals from these groups to receive taxpayer funding – whether designated for emergency responses to COVID-19 or for regular programs.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.