The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), an NGO based in London, was granted special consultative status at the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) by the Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations on 1 June 2015. Since then, Israeli government officials and affiliated civil society organisations have actively lobbied ECOSOC members to reverse this decision, based on Israel’s allegation that the PRC is affiliated with Hamas.
This brief study titled How Israel attempts to mislead the United Nations: Deconstructing Israel’s campaign against the Palestinian Return Centre, examines the Israeli-led campaign against the PRC, critically analyses the ‘intelligence report’ that is cited by Israeli officials and related civil society organisations as justification for linking the PRC with Hamas. PRC finds that the allegations in this report are based on circumstantial evidence and remain unproven.
Written by Dr. Sarah Marusek and Prof. David Miller, this study also uncovers that a network of pro-Israel and anti-Muslim groups in the United States are funding the civil society organisations campaigning against the PRC. These groups, including charities, think tanks and media, are not disparate and unrelated to each other; they are connected through key individuals, share funders and uncritically reproduce the same Israeli government views.
So far, more than 100 European parliamentarians have signed letters in support of the PRC’s UN application. MEP Martina Anderson, chair of the European Parliament’s delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council, said: “The Palestine Return Centre provides direct help to Palestinian refugees. Having this status at the UN would significantly benefit the organisation and, more importantly, allow it to provide greater protection to the rights of Palestinian refugees.”
She added that, “The European Union, and its member states, should now implement the UN recommendation as a matter of urgency. Palestinian refugees are entitled to the support of the international community and the EU in particular has a key role to play in supporting their rights.”