The findings suggest that several groups receiving funds from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the World Health Organisation are tied to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is designated as a terror group by Israel, the EU, the US and Canada.
The investigation, carried out by the NGO Monitor research institute, found that “among OCHA’s NGO partners with ties to the PFLP are the Health Work Committees (HWC), Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC), Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC), and Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)”.
Several leading PFLP figures are believed to work for NGOs on this list, including Samer Arbid, UAWC’s Financial Director and HWC’s Financial Administration Director Waleed Hanatsheh. Both individuals are currently standing trial for commanding and financing a PFLP terror cell that carried out a bombing attack in August 2019 that killed 17-year old Israeli Rina Shnerb and injured her father and brother.
The UK does not proscribe the PFLP, though the Treasury lists both the PFLP and the PFLP General Command (listed as a terror group) as being subject to financial sanctions.
The NGO Monitor report also highlighted that according to OCHA, the aid money was meant to “respond to the public health needs and immediate humanitarian consequences of the pandemic in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip”, yet a number of the NGOs receiving funds are highly involved in political activism and ‘lawfare’ campaigns against the Israeli government.
Israeli NGO HaMoked has received funding via OCHA for a solicitor to write to Israeli officials about checkpoint closures, and several other organisations have received funding for similar letters and press releases despite these being part of their regular output.
Contributors to the COVID-19 emergency response plan included Canada, the EU, France, Germany, Ireland, Kuwait, Sweden, Norway, Spain and the UK.