EU says funding terror supporters is OK

As long as Palestinian individuals don’t officially represent terrorist organizations, they can benefit from programs the EU supports.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Israel Foreign Ministry summoned EU ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret on Thursday for an official rebuke over a letter saying that the EU will allow terror supporters to benefit from programs it funds, as long as they themselves are not on a European “watch list.”

“We view this letter with great severity,” a Foreign Ministry spokesperson told Times of Israel. “This is in violation of all our agreements with the European Union, and we intend to send a strong message to its representatives about this.”

The official missive was written by EU Representative to the West Bank and Gaza Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff and addressed to the Palestinian NGO Network on March 30.

He wrote that while no EU-backed projects are allowed to fund terrorist groups on the EU’s “restrictive measures list,” there are no Palestinian individuals on that list. Therefore, anyone “affiliated to, sympathizing with or supporting any of the groups or entities mentioned in the EU restrictive lists is not excluded from benefiting from EU-funded activities” unless he or she is a formal representative of any of the groups.

Von Burgsdorff added that “the EU does not ask any civil society organization to… discriminate against any natural person based on his/her political affiliation.” Palestinian organizations have claimed that internationally recognized terror groups such as Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) are political parties.

When asked about the letter, a spokesperson for the EU embassy to Israel told Times of Israel that the EU carefully scrutinizes where its money goes.

“The EU has extremely strict monitoring and control mechanisms in place to make sure that all individuals involved in EU-funded actions exclusively pursue the objectives and activities approved for EU funding,” the spokesperson said. “The EU does not fund any activity that is related directly or indirectly to violence or incitement.”

Israel’s strategic affairs ministry has pointed out several times in recent years that the EU gives millions of euros to NGOs that support the BDS (Boycott, Divest aned Sanctions) movement, which demonizes Israel and seeks to delegitimize its existence.

One of them, the Palestinian Al-Haq organization, is headed by a convicted PFLP terrorist. According to watchdog group NGO Monitor, it has received almost €300,000 from the European bloc between 2017-2020.