For the first time, a Palestinian group has been excluded from European Union funding for refusing to adhere to anti-terrorist clause included in the EU grant General Conditions.
The group, Badil, Resource Center for Palestinian Refugee Rights, is involved in the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott,Disinvestment,Sanctions) movement.
Last Friday, the EU informed BADIL, in an official letter, that it was canceling €1.7 million ($1.9 million) in funding for a three-year joint project titled, “Mobilizing for Justice in Jerusalem,” over the group’s objection to the anti-terrorism clause.
“Based on your reply, we conclude that Badil cannot abide by the General Conditions as they stand and we are therefore obliged to consider your application no longer valid,” the EU letter read.
The E.U. introduced the so-called anti-terrorism clause to its contracts with Palestinian NGOS in 2019, according to NGO Monitor. The clause (Annex G.2, Annex II, Article 1.5 bis) stipulates, “Grant beneficiaries and contractors must ensure that there is no detection of subcontractors, natural persons, including participants to workshops and/or trainings and recipients of financial support to third parties, in the lists of E.U. restrictive measures.”
These lists include E.U.-designated terrorist groups, including Hamas, the Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
The EU decision to cancel funding of the project follows recent statements by European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi who asked the heads of EU delegations both in Tel Aviv and West Bank and Gaza to look into the issue of EU funding to Palestinian terror organisations and ”to ensure that our financial support doesn’t get to terrorists, terrorist organisations, organisations that support terrorists or organisations that support terrorist organisations.”
Vahrelyi reacted at concern expressed by Israel and pro=Israel groups in Europe that NGOs affiliated with terrorist groups are eligible for EU funding after it was revealed that the EU representative to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Kuhn von Burgsdorff, wrote in a letter to a network of Palestinian NGOs that individuals with ties to terrorist organisations may take part in EU-funded activities.
‘’The heads of delegations will have to look deep into the matter and if there is any concern, we will act immediately. There is no terrorist financing from EU funds. As long as there are EU funds, this cannot happen, this will not be tolerated and if it happens, it will have to be rectified and I will see to it myself that it is done and delivered,” said Commissioner Varhelyi.