Irish Aid, the state’s foreign aid arm, donated over €671,000 to an alleged “terrorist organisation” between 2012 and 2019. It’s unclear how much was donated to the organisation in 2020 and 2021 – the Department of Foreign Affair, who oversee the Irish Aid programme, have so far refused to answer questions submitted to them regarding funding during that period.
The funding was given to an organisation called Addameer Prison Support and Human Rights, an organisation founded in 1992 which says that it is an NGO that works to support Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons. If funding continued through 2020/2021 at the same level as in years previous, we would expect the total amount donated to Addameer since 2012 to be in the region of €850,000.
Addameer was recently classed as a terrorist organisation by the Israeli government, on the basis that Israel believe that Addameer, and another five Palestinian NGOs, “constitute an arm of the leadership” of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Israel believes the NGOs were channelling donations and grants, primarily from Western governments including Ireland, to the PFLP.
The PFLP is a revolutionary socialist political party which formed in 1967. The PFLP does not support the right of the state of Israel to exist and, due to repeated terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, is formally regarded as a terrorist group by Israel as well as both the USA and the European Union.
A notable number of the members of Addameer, at both senior and junior level, have either been convicted of involvement with the PFLP, imprisoned on terrorism related charges, or are stated by the Israeli government to be actively involved with the PFLP.
One of Addameer’s directors, Salah Hammouri, was arrested for his involvement in a 2005 PFLP plan to assassinate Israeli’s former Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. The Israeli government has said that Hammouri’s involvement included “contacting and recruiting military operatives of the PFLP, and directing two fellow members as to how to carry out terrorist attacks.” The Israeli government says that Hammouri and his team “obtained weapons and ammunition and began planning attacks all over Jerusalem.” Hammouri was released in 2011 as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange.
In 2021 Kalida Jarrar, who served as the director general of Addameer until 2006, and as the Deputy Director of Addameer’s Board of Directors until 2017, was convicted of being a senior member of the PFLP. The Israeli government has said that Jarrar headed the PFLP in Judea and Samaria. Jareer was released earlier this year, for time served, as she had initially been detained in 2019, after a PFLP bombing attack in the Israeli community of Dolev, which the Israeli government states was orchestrated by Addameer’s former accountant, killed a 17 year old girl and led the Israeli government to crack down on the PFLP.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney is reported, in the Irish Times, to have responded to the Israeli classification of the six NGOs as terrorist entities by saying that Ireland is “very robust in terms of ensuring that we know where Irish money is spent, and ensuring that is not present inappropriately and certainly in the context of terrorism.” Coveney said that he didn’t believe “the international community has been given the evidence to show that these six NGOs are contributing to terrorism, and I will cxontinue to ask for that evidence and if it’s there we will act on it.”
The Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs have released at least two reports since 2019, Terrorists in Suits (2019) and Blood Money (2020), which looked at the evidence linking senior members of Addameer to the PFLP.
We will update this story should we receive a response from the Department of Foreign Affairs.