CEPR Outlawed; British MPs on board now face arrest in Israel
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has outlawed the Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR), a Belgian non-profit organisation that serves as Hamas’ representative in Europe. Ya’alon has declared the CEPR to be an “illicit association” after Israeli security services deemed the CEPR as “Hamas’ leading organization in Europe, which carries out its activity under cover of being a pro-Palestinian organization. The organization is headed by senior Hamas activists, including Arafat Shoukri and Rami Abdo.”
The Director of the CEPR is Arafat Shoukri, a London-based activist who is also Director of the UK-based Palestine Return Centre. Intelligence agencies regard the PRC as one of the leading lobby groups in Britain for the terrorist organisation Hamas, and claim that three of the PRC’s trustees are “Hamas activists who found refuge in Britain” during the 1990s. Hamas leaders also regularly address the PRC’s conferences.
In the past three years the CEPR has organised six trips of European MPs to Gaza. The Independent notes that, in 2010, Shoukri met with the then-chairman of the EU Parliament. Mr Ya’alon had already declared the CEPR “an outlawed organisation” two weeks ago, which means Israel can confiscate money related to the group and try its members or those who provide them with services.
The writer Hadar Sela has noted:
Arafat Shoukri is also chair of the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) which was established by the Muslim Brotherhood’s European arm – the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) in 2007 and shares the same London offices as the PRC. The ECESG is one of the coalition of groups which organizes the various flotillas aimed at breaking Israel’s maritime embargo on Gaza which was established in order to prevent the smuggling of weapons to Hamas. Jenny Tonge is a “supporting VIP” of the ECESG.
In 2011 the CEPR and the PRC together took a group of Parliamentarians from Britain and Europe – lead by Sir Gerald Kaufman – to Lebanon where they met representatives of the PFLP-GC and Osama Hamdan of Hamas. (Both these organisations are proscribed terror groups in the EU). Majid al Zeer of the PRC (a known Hamas operative) and Arafat Shoukri of the CEPR were also present in the delegation.
Most interestingly, British Parliamentarians associated with the CEPR now face the possibility of arrest if they attempt to enter Israel. Ha’aretz notes:
The leadership of the CEPR includes four members of parliament from Europe. British [MEP] representative Richard Howitt, German representative Alexandra Thein, Swiss MP Geri Müller and British Peer Norman Warner. The four are now in danger of arrest and trial if they visit Israel or try to reach the West Bank via Israel.