Exclusive: Why I cannot approve the EU Budget Discharge in its present form

We found €13,124,712 EU grants to anti-Israel NGOs and organizations in 2019. We must end the meddling in Israel's internal affairs. Op-ed.

Joachim Kuhs, MEP ,

Joachim Kuhs in Samaria
Joachim Kuhs in Samaria
INN:JK

The European Union funds a large number of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) which pursue a one-sided anti-Israel agenda. Thanks to the excellent work by NGO Monitor, the Israeli Ministry for Strategic Affairs, and NGOs like Regavim, Palestinian Media Watch and Im Tirtzu, this fact is well-known in Israel.

As Rapporteur for the Discharge of the EU Commission Budget 2019, I believe it is time to put an end to this, in the interest of peace and human life.

No country would accept another country meddling in its internal affairs, funding riots and the radical political opposition, funding the BDS boycott campaign and lawfare against the elected government, employing terrorists and their allies, the raising of children to be killers and the rewarding the families of terrorists. Except, as I will show here, in the case of Israel and the EU.

We have identified €13,124,712 EU Commission grants going to anti-Israel NGOs and organizations in 2019. Due to the lack of transparency in EU funding, the real number is probably higher. In addition, at least €257,450,000 in 2019 EU funding went to the Palestinian Authority, and $131,742,673 to UNRWA. As Palestinian Media Watch reports, the Palestinian Authority paid 517 million Shekels (approx. €130 million) for "pay-for-slay" salaries to terrorist prisoners 2019 - over half the sum of EU funding.

NGO Monitor has identified at least 3 EU grants in 2019 totaling €5.8 million involving Palestinian NGOs with ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), an EU-designated terrorist group.

In addition, “The EU supports highly politicized NGOs to influence Israeli public attitudes on the conflict, to lobby public officials, and to intervene in the legal system,” NGO Monitor wrote, such as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and the Human Rights Defenders Fund HRDF (EU funding 2019: €299,988 with ACRI and Movement for Freedom of Information).

These NGOs are waging a “lawfare” campaign against the democratically elected Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, providing legal counsel to “violent protesters demonstrating in front of the official residence of the Prime Minister of Israel,” according to the Chair of the Knesset Caucus on Combating Delegitimization & Anti-Semitism Ariel Kallner.

According to conservative NGO Im Tirtzu, these protests are supported by Ir Amim (EU funding 2019: €299,977 with Workers Advice Center), Physicians for Human Rights (EU funding 2019: €680,277) and Breaking the Silence (EU funding 2019: €299,988 with B'Tselem).

The EU Commission also supports left-wing Israeli NGOs active in Area C of Judea and Samaria, which it refers to as the “Occupied Territories”, which habitually criticize Israel while ignoring problems with terror, violence, corruption, anti-Semitism and lack of democracy on the Palestinian Authority side, such as B'Tselem and Breaking the Silence (EU funding 2019: €299,988).

The EU also funds illegal building by the Palestinian Authority in Area C of Judea and Samaria, as documented by the NGO Regavim in its report “EU Involvement in Illegal Building in Area C” 2018. There is no transparency of EU funding of illegal PA building projects in Area C. Even as Member of the Budget Committee of the EU Parliament, it is not possible for me to obtain an accurate accounting of how much money was spent on illegal construction in Area C.

On Aug. 8, 2019, the EU Council ratified a list of “persons, groups and entities … to combat terrorism”. 130 Palestinian NGOs protested this list. On March 30, 2020, EU Head of Delegation to West Bank and Gaza Strip Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff wrote to the Palestinian NGO Network, clarifying that “it is understood that a natural person affiliated to, sympathizing with, or supporting any of the groups mentioned in the EU restrictive lists is not excluded from benefiting from EU-funded activities”, as Times of Israel reported.

On August 23, 2019, 17-year-old Rina Shnerb was killed by a bomb while hiking in Samaria, her father and brother were seriously injured. Several leading employees of the EU-funded NGOs Union of Agricultural Works Committees (UAWC), Health Works Committees (HWC), Bisan and PNGO were arrested in connection with the attack. In the years 2011-2019, these four NGOs reeceived €26.8 million from the EU, as NGO Monitor reported.

In addition to funding the Palestinian Authority and Hamas-tied UNRWA, which inculcate hate and terror in generations of young children, the EU also funded Hamas influenced universities like An-Najah, Birzeit, and Islamic University of Gaza with €980,029 in 2019, which Steven Erlanger of the New York Times described as “one of the prime means for Hamas to convert Palestinians to its Islamist cause.”

Recently, PA candidate Muhammad Aref Massad wrote that "If you really want the killing, the destruction, and the siege of the Palestinian people to stop, if you really want the injustice and the poverty of the Palestinian people to come to an end, please terminate your support for the Palestinian Authority, which is run by a corrupt and unelected dictator. Please ask your government not to send money to the Palestinian Authority. Your government sends us a great deal of money despite the fact that it would be better directed to poor people in your country. Any sum you send to the Palestinian Authority and to the terror organizations furthers our poverty and our ruin."

I believe the time has come for a genuine peace in the Mideast, as evidenced in the historic Abraham Accords. I also believe Muhammad Aref Massad when he writes: "The Palestinian leaders do not want freedom and do not want peace, because they profit from the war and destruction in which we are engulfed".

I therefore believe it is necessary for the EU and its member states to end their funding for anti-Israel politics. The EU has no business interfering in the internal affairs of any other country, especially not Israel.

I will therefore submit a vote today, March 2, to postpone granting the EU Commission Discharge on its budget for 2019 until these questions and problems are fully resolved, and will urge all my fellow committee members to vote with me. I am pleased to announce this move via Arutz Sheva.

Joachim Kuhs is a trained Auditor. He is a member of the Budget Committee and Budget Control Committee in the EU Parliament for the "Identity & Democracy" group, and is Rapporteur for the EU Commission Discharge 2019. He is a member of the AfD (Alternative for Germany) National Committee and head of the “Christians in the AfD”. He visited Judea and Samaria in 2019 and met with Israeli NGOs and politicians. Kuhs lives in Baden-Baden, Germany, has 10 children and 12 grandchildren.



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