The Palestinian Return Centre was granted consultative status at the UN, despite its ties to Hamas. Allowing such an organization to gain access to the UN will set a dangerous precedent.
On 20 July 2015, the Palestinians Return Centre was granted a consultative status at the UN, despite objections by Israel, the US, Canada and Australia as well as several other countries.
Israel’s Deputy Permanent representative, David Roet, made a statement to the United Nations Economic and Social Council prior to the vote:
Thank you Mr. President,
Israel is proud to introduce draft decision L-25. Since we tabled the resolution, we are happy to have joined us to co-sponsor, the United States, Australia and Canada as well.
I would like to start by emphasizing the tremendous appreciation that Israel has for the work of civil society.
The involvement of NGOs is crucial for societies, governments and for the UN itself, in order to promote human rights and sustainable development. As an active member of ECOSOC’s NGO committee, Israel has been extremely proud to promote the granting of consultative status to many worthy NGOs.
Unfortunately, lately the work of the NGO committee has become more political while at times forgetting it’s responsibility to protect the United Nations from allowing into its midst organizations whose values and actions clearly contradict those of the charter.
Despite the fact that my country and other member states presented grave concerns and questions, certain members of the NGO committee have blatantly decided to ignore the common practice of the committee, to allow members to raise questions in order to further deliberate on an application. We have thus been compelled to present the decision in front of you not to grant status to the PRC.
The Palestinian Return Center is not what it claims to be. It is not just simply affiliated with Hamas, a recognized terror organization that is responsible for the deaths of countless Israeli civilians, but is an essential part of the Hamas network in Europe.
World media sources, national intelligence agencies, and independent research centers have cited numerous connections between the PRC and Hamas. The PRC recruits operatives throughout Europe, radicalizes them, and encourages them to take arms against Israel. They host Hamas senior officials in their conferences, where they openly call for the annihilation of the state of Israel.
Moreover, in the application that the PRC submitted to the NGO committee it is openly displayed that they are funded by well-known designated terror funding organizations such as Interpal and the Charitable Committee to Support Palestinian People).
The PRC have consistently denied any ties they have with Hamas. This denial is deceitful. On June 2nd 2015, the day the NGO committee recommended the special consultative status, Hamas Prime Minister, Ismayil Hanniyeh, called Majed Al-Zeer, Head of the PRC, and congratulated him on this achievement. From his side, Al-Zeer thanked Hanniyeh and told him it wouldn’t have happened without the movement’s support.
Later on that same day, Hanniyeh’s office published the conversation on the Hamas website. Majed Al-Zeer immediately understood the potential damage and quickly communicated with Hanniyeh’s office, urging them to publish a denial of the conversation having taken place and to remove evidence of the conversation from their web page. I have a screenshot of the webpage myself.
Israel’s decision, calls for ECOSOC to decide not to grant consultative status to the PRC. Endorsing an organization that openly promotes terrorism is in contradiction not only to ECOSOC resolution 1996/31 but also to the UN Charter itself. This organization is in clear violation of the first stated purpose of the United Nations – "to maintain international peace and security".
Allowing such an organization to gain access to the UN will set a dangerous precedent, which if not handled correctly, would pave the way for other terror affiliated organizations to the UN. You, as members of ECOSOC, should ask yourselves – can you afford to accept an organization affiliated with terror, one of our larger shared global threats, into partnership with the UN? Is this how you envision the future work of ECOSOC and the United Nations?
You all have a chance today to stop this dangerous trend before it takes root. By sending a clear message to terrorist organizations around the world – you shall not cross our threshold. If you fail to do so today, don’t be surprised if tomorrow Jabhat Al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda and ISIS will also apply for consultative status.
Hamas will have presented them with a road map and a key to enter the United Nations. As in the case of the PRC they will not do it under their own name but rather behind the facade of a Human rights or development organization. They will gain a foothold in the United Nations and by then it will be too late.
I call on all members of ECOSOC to accept this resolution in consensus, in order to protect this institution, soon to be celebrating its 70th year. In case a vote will be called, I ask that you vote yes. By supporting this decision you will not only be making the right moral choice but you will be as well defending this institution and its values.
Thank you Mr. President.