EU Funds Groups Linked to Palestinian Terrorism, Israel Says

(Bloomberg) -- European Union institutions have given millions of euros annually to non-governmental organizations with ties to Palestinian terrorist groups and that support boycotts of Israel, according to Gilad Erdan, Israel’s minister for strategic affairs and public diplomacy.

Examples include Norwegian People’s Aid, which received 1.76 million euros in EU aid in 2016, Erdan said in a 40-page report issued Friday. The group carried out a project with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which is classified as a terrorist group by the EU and U.S. The Norwegian group also provided services to Iran’s energy sector, Erdan said. It was fined $2 million in April by the U.S. Department of Justice because of the links.

“It is inconceivable that the EU is giving millions in European taxpayer money to organizations that promote boycotts against Israel -- some of which are also connected to EU-designated terrorist groups,” Erdan said in a press release.

In a statement, the EU delegation in Israel said the bloc’s spending was subject to extensive monitoring. “We are therefore confident that EU financing does not go to support terrorism nor to BDS activities, as apparently suggested in the report,” it said.

Erdan has led a government battle against the Palestinian-initiated Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which seeks to apply economic and political pressure on Israel and force its withdrawal from the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. The EU criticized Israel this week for trying to deport the director of the local chapter of Human Rights Watch, whom it accused of being involved in the BDS movement, which he denied. An Israeli court has temporarily halted the deportation order.

More than a dozen organizations that promote anti-Israel boycotts have together received 5 million euros annually from the EU, the report says.

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