Shin Bet Security on Thursday accused the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine of stealing millions of euros from European aid agencies and governments to fund terrorist activities.
The Shin Bet has arrested a number of people suspected of involvement in recent weeks and said charges will be brought against them shortly, including a woman of Spanish nationality, Juani Rishmawi.
In light of the investigation, the State Department met with European diplomats in Israel and sent Israeli diplomats to Europe to meet representatives of their host governments and ask them not to make donations to Palestinian NGOs affiliated with the PFLP .
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During these talks, representatives of the Israeli Foreign Ministry explained to European diplomats the gravity with which Israel sees these problems and presented them with the results of the investigation, including evidence that the European government’s means to the Popular Front for the liberation of went to Palestine, which is recognized in Europe as a terrorist organization, ”the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
According to the security service, the PFLP used its health organization, the Health Work Committee, to defraud various European organizations and countries in the millions over several years.
“PFLP institutions have deceived aid agencies in Europe through a number of methods – reporting fictitious projects, transferring false documents, forging and inflating bills, rerouting offers, forging documents and bank signatures, reporting excessive salaries and more” Shin Bet said in a statement.
According to the security service, this money was used to pay the families of the murdered members of the terrorist group, to recruit new activists and to spread the group’s news across the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
According to the right-wing Israeli group NGO Monitor, which tracks contributions by Palestinian organizations to possible terrorist links, European governments and the European Union donated more than 6.6 million euros to HWC from 2017 to 2020, more than half – 3.6 million euros – from Sweden alone.
Shin Bet said the investigation was carried out in collaboration with the Israeli armed forces and the Israeli police.
The security service identified the four alleged heads of the financial system as Tayseer Abu Sharbak, 47, who works as an accountant for the Health Work Committee. Said Abdat, 46, who previously worked as an accountant for the HWC; Amro Hamouda, 46, former purchasing manager at the HWC; and Rishmawi, 63, who was responsible for fundraising for the organization in Europe.
Shin Bet said the four suspects had “submitted extensive material revealing the extent of the fraud that PFLP institutions have committed against European countries”. Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya told reporters last Week that the Spanish authorities have an “intensive dialogue” with Israel about the allegations against Rishmawi, also known as Juana Ruiz Sánchez.
After a deadly attack by PFLP terrorists in 2019, in which the Israeli teenager Rina Shnerb was killed and her father and brother were seriously injured, the Shin Bet cracked down on the group and arrested dozens of its members in December this year.
Last year the Dutch government provided funding for a Palestinian group that Union of Agricultural Work Committees, after finding some of the money to be used by two PFLP members for their role in the attack in which Shnerb was killed, would pay in court.
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