Another UN Step to Legitimize Jihadist Hamas - Rachel Ehrenfeld
Monday, June 1st, 2015 @ 11:22PM
Left: Ismail Haniya, head of the de facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, speaks at the seventh annual conference, held in Milan in 2009 (PRC annual Palestinian conference in Europe website). The Palestinian Return Center (PRC) advocates the ideology and political agenda of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe and beyond.
As if the Jihadist terror group ISIS wasn’t enough, twelve of the United Nations Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations moved today towards legitimizing jihad against Israel by granting NGO statues to Hamas’s London branch, the Palestinian Return Center (PRC).
China, Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, Turkey and Venezuela, supported the decision, while Greece, India and Russia abstained. Only Israel, the United States and Uruguay opposed the decision.
In 2010, the Israeli government identified the Palestinian Return Center (PRC) as a “an organizational and a coordinating wing of Hamas in Europe” and designated it as terrorist. The PRC is also affiliated with and operates from the same London Crown House address as The Palestinian Relief and Development (Interpal), and Yusuf Qaradawi’s brainchild, the Union of Good – an umbrella group of more than 50 Islamic fundraising organizations worldwide that raises and funnels funds to Hamas. In 2003, the U.S. designated Interpal as terrorist and in 2008, added the Union of Good to the list. However, the Obama administration, which favors the Muslim Brotherhood, refrained from designating the PRC, despite its blatant support of Palestinian terrorism. All three organizations operate from the same Crown House address in North West London.
The PRC is an active member of the Palestinian BDS National Committee. Most recently sponsored the 13th Palestinian in Europe conference in Berlin that once again “saluted” Hamas and the Palestinian Jihad terrorists in Gaza and praised them as “freedom fighters.” It also renewed its call to all Palestinians to challenge/crash Israel’s borders (i.e. cross illegally into Israel, either by land or via “aid” flotillas to Gaza, it helps organize with the backing of Turkey’s President, the Hamas supporter Muslim Brother, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Center’s March 8, 2011 report detailed the PRC’s affiliation with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Connections of senior Hamas figures with Hamas and other British groups and organizations which support Hamas
Overview of PRC activities:
i) Since its establishment, the PRC has been prominent among anti-Israeli organizations engaging in intensive propaganda activities aimed at inculcating the idea of the “right of return” and defaming Israel by representing it as an “apartheid state.” It also seeks to turn Israel into a pariah state by accusing it of the “ethnic cleansing” of the “Palestinian” population, both in the past and present (the PRC even issued a book entitled The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine). The PRC’s vicious anti-Israeli propaganda campaign is waged in Britain, continental Europe and other countries around the globe.
ii) The PRC has three main target audiences in Britain: British politicians, especially in Parliament, where it is primarily in contact with members of the Labour Party; university students, among whom PRC activists participate in events related to the conflict and deliver anti-Israeli speeches; the British public in general, especially the social and cultural elite. PRC activists attend events such as “Jerusalem Day” and “Naqba Day,” react publicly to developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and hold demonstrations and rallies in London and other cities in Britain. In addition, the PRC holds conferences, workshops and seminars. It produces movies, issues various publications and runs a Palestinian cultural center in London.
iii) Since 2003 the PRC has held an annual anti-Israeli European conference called “the annual conference of Palestinians in Europe.” The conferences are attended by PRC activists, representatives of the Arab and Muslim communities in Europe, Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood activists and representatives of the European funds and foundations which finance Hamas. Their agenda and themes focus on inculcating the idea that the so-called “right of return” is “sacred,” and that no Palestinian can waive it. The conferences negate the right of the State of Israel to exist, strongly oppose the peace process and support the path of jihad and “resistance” (i.e., terrorism). Ismail Haniya, head of the de facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, delivered video-conferenced speeches at three of the conferencesbecause he was banned from entering certain European countries (where Hamas is considered a terrorist organization).
iv) On the international scene the PRC participates in conferences dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the issue of the refugees, including conferences organized by the United Nations. The PRC exploits the venues as convenient forums for defaming Israel as an “apartheid country” and a “racist country,” and spreading propaganda for the “right of return.” Senior PRC activists and their activities were prominent at the UN’s Durban conference in 2001, which served as a platform for attacks against Israel’s legitimacy and a hate campaign against it.
v) The PRC has anti-Israeli activities planned for 2011, some of them in Britain, some of them in other European countries. They include the annual conference of Palestinians in Europe, a January rally in London to mark the second anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, an international conference in London in January dealing with the so-called “Naqba,” some 30 events dealing with the Palestinian prisoners, a discussion about a project to coordinate Palestinian activity in the West, and others.
5) Formulating media strategy to attack Israel’s legitimacy: At the third annual conference, held in Vienna in 2005, the PRC formulated a media strategy to inculcate the concept of the “right of return” and to undermine the legitimacy of the State of Israel in various broad target audiences in Europe. The following tactics were proposed by the conference workshops: stressing the “value of justice” (a term easily accepted by the European ear) as a tool for creating a sense of European solidarity with the Palestinian demand to return the refugees to Israel; using short, easy to remember slogans; using publications of new historians; increasing the number of demonstrations; stressing the distinction between Judaism and the “Zionist project,” (See Appendix IV), etc. The decisions made at the conference are important and relevant because they are implemented to this day by the PRC and other anti-Israeli organizations participating in the global campaign to legitimatize Israel.
6) Funding the PRC and its extensive activities: As opposed to other organizations participating in the global campaign to delegitimize Israel, the PRC maintains a vast physical and human presence. Establishing it, maintaining it and funding its extensive physical and human network demand, in our assessment, extremely large financial resources. The PRC claims that it is funded by donations from people who believe in its goals. However, in our assessment, even if it cannot be proved, the PRC has other sources of funds at its disposal, notably the Muslim Brotherhood and/or funds and foundations connected to it and to Hamas.
12. Senior PRC figures, among them Hamas activists, hold positions in other groups and organizations which spread anti-Israeli propaganda, transfer funds to Hamas and dispatch land and sea convoys to the Gaza Strip. Some of the organizations are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and one with the extreme British left.
13. The PRC’s senior figures are deeply involved with both the ECESG and Viva Palestina, two organizations which make significant contributions to the land and sea convoy projects to the Gaza Strip. For example, Dr. Arafat Madi Shukri, the PRC’s director of operations, is also chairman of the ECESG, a European umbrella network which sends sea convoys.Majed al-Zeer is also apparently involved in ECESG activity. Zaher al-Birawi, a Hamas activist, is chairman of the PRC board of trustees, the spokesman (and in our assessment also a kind of liaison person with Hamas) of the convoys organized by Viva Palestina, the organization of extremist left-wing former British MP George Galloway. In addition, two senior PRC activists, Ghusan Faour and Hamas activist Sheikh Majdi Akeel, are key figures in Interpal, a British fund which is an important component in Hamas’ international fundraising effort; Interpal was designated as a terrorism-supporting institution in the United States and outlawed both there and in Israel.11
The full report on the PRC is available here