The paper demonstrates that imposing political conditional funding on CSOs pursuing the right to self-determination of an oppressed and colonized people is not only morally and politically unacceptable, but also illegal in consideration of international law. In particular:
- Although consistent with the continuous reinforcement of the counter-terrorism regime within the EU, Article 1.5 bis was only included in grant contracts with Palestinian CSOs in 2019 and constitutes an alarming precedent that undermines the trust upon which the EU-Palestine relations are based.
- Article 1.5 bis imposes a new obligation on Palestinian grant recipients, as it entails the endorsement of EU restrictive measures, screening and vetting processes of the Palestinian CSOs’ own people, the Palestinians. By forcing such conditions upon Palestinian grant beneficiaries, the EU is unacceptably asking Palestinian CSOs to monitor and police their own counterparts and to endorse the European counter-terrorism framework to do so.
- Article 1.5 bis is not only inconsistent with the principles of humanitarian action, but also with the Palestinian people’s legitimate human rights as recognized under international law, including the right to self-determination, and the right to resist by any legitimate means against foreign oppression, occupation, colonization and apartheid. The current counter-terrorism framework imposed on Palestinian civil society by means of Article 1.5 bis criminalizes the Palestinian people’s struggle for their right to self-determination, contributes to the de-politicization and alienation of Palestinian civil society, and neglects the Palestinian people’s right to legitimate resistance.
- Article 1.5 bis contradicts Palestinian law that prohibits political conditional funding, therefore imposing an unacceptable legal and moral dilemma on Palestinian CSOs vis-a-vis their own domestic law.
- Given that Article 1.5 bis reflects the current EU counter-terrorism policies, largely influenced by the US and Israel, there is solid evidence that support the possible escalation of measures targeting Palestinian civil society and labelling their work under the framework of terrorism in order to discredit them.
- Although framed in an innocuous way, and while no Palestinian person currently appears on EU sanctions lists, Article 1.5 bis would have dramatic consequences as it lays the foundations for a system of generalized screening and vetting of the whole of Palestinian civil society.
- If compared with the USAID’s conditions imposed in the early 21st century, the EU’s imposition of a terrorist framework on Palestinian civil society occurred later but follows the increasingly tight counter-terrorism framework imposed by the US.
In sum, Article 1.5 bis does not only discredit the Palestinian people’s legitimate struggle to fulfill their right to self-determination vis-à-vis the international community, but foremost, dishonors Palestinian CSOs at a national level, undermining the integrity and credibility of the Palestinian CSOs amongst the Palestinian community, breaking up solid and essential relationships between partners, which then fosters fragmentation of Palestinian civil society and entrenches isolation of Palestinian CSOs.