As readers may be aware, on June 1st the UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations approved the application of the London-based Palestinian Return Centre for UN accreditation.
“Some 12 countries voted in favour, including Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, Turkey, Venezuela, China and Cuba, while three voted against – the United States, Uruguay and Israel. India, Russia and Greece abstained, and Burundi was absent. […]
Official U.N. status as an NGO gives groups access to U.N. premises and opportunities to attend or observe many events and conferences at United Nations sites around the world.”
This vote, however, is only the first stage in the process.
“The 54-nation ECOSOC, which meets in July, has the power to approve or reject the committee’s recommendations and to make the final decision.”
The Palestinian Return Centre has been an illegal organization in Israel since 2010 because of its connections to Hamas. PRC activists and staff regularly crop up in connection with assorted delegitimisation projects and are active in other organisations too – as anyone monitoring and documenting anti-Israel activity well knows. Below, for example, is a photograph from a 2011 visit by British parliamentarians to Lebanon which was jointly organised by the Palestinian Return Centre and the Council for European Palestinian Relations and which included in its itinerary a meeting with Osama Hamdan of Hamas.
Among the PRC’s current projects is a campaign to have Britain apologise for the Balfour Declaration. Previous initiatives have included a public relations campaign on behalf of Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel which was launched at a conference organized by the PRC in 2012. As was noted on our sister site UK Media Watch at the time:
“The conference’s president was Majed al Zeer of the PRC and also of the Hamas-linked European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) which was set up by the Muslim Brotherhood’s European arm in 2007 and takes part in organizing the various flotillas, including the fatal one of 2010. […]
PRC spokesman and chair of trustees Zaher al Birawi recently acted as spokesman for the ‘Global March to Jerusalem’. He has also functioned as spokesman for George Galloway’s ‘Viva Palestina’ convoys, is an official of the Palestinian Forum in Britain and trustee of a UK charity named ‘Education Aid for Palestinians’ which is a member of the Hamas-supporting ‘Union of Good‘.
The PRC’s operational director, Arafat Madi Shoukri, is also connected to the ECESG as well as director of the Brussels-based European parliament lobbying group called the ‘Council for European Palestinian Relations‘. Ghassan Faour – a trustee of the PRC – is also linked to the UK charity ‘Interpal’ which is a member of the ‘Union of Good’. Another PRC trustee Majdi Akeel – a known Hamas activist and also connected to ‘Interpal’– was mentioned in the Holy Land Foundation trial in the US. The PRC’s senior researcher and editor, Daoud Abdallah, is also the director of MEMO and well-known as a signatory of the Istanbul Declaration.”
According to the UN’s own criteria for establishing relations with non-governmental organizations:
“The aims and purposes of the organization shall be in conformity with the spirit, purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”
The same document states:
“57. The consultative status of non-governmental organizations with the Economic and Social Council and the listing of those on the Roster shall be suspended up to three years or withdrawn in the following cases:
(a) If an organization, either directly or through its affiliates or representatives acting on its behalf, clearly abuses its status by engaging in a pattern of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations including unsubstantiated or politically motivated acts against Member States of the United Nations incompatible with those purposes and principles;”
Such activities are of course the entire raison d’etre behind the PRC’s existence and this current exercise in entryism is highly unlikely to be fuelled by different motivations. That such an organisation’s application – whilst not yet finalised – has proceeded so far speaks volumes.
Sameh Habeeb and Labour (Harry’s Place)