According to an Israeli watchdog group, the Biden administration funds an organization supporting Palestinian terrorists.
The Phoenix Center for Research and Field Studies, which was established in March 2021 with the support of Gaza University, was awarded over $90,000 combined in taxpayer-backed grants from President Joe Biden’s State Department for two projects that continue until August of next year, according to USAspending.gov.
The Phoenix Center says it “is an independent non-profit Palestinian institution established within the framework of its responsibility towards Palestinian communities to meet their political, economic, and social needs.”
But, NGO Monitor, a watchdog group based in Jerusalem, said the Phoenix Center partnered with leaders of the Popular Front for the Libertarian of Palestine (PFLP) and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), designated as terror groups by the State Department in 1997.
GOP Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey, chairman of its Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations and a House Foreign Affairs Committee member, told the Washington Examiner that the funding “is deeply disturbing and raises alarming questions.”
“Under absolutely no circumstances should the State Department be sending U.S. taxpayer dollars to subsidize terrorist workshops and conferences that are decorated with the flags of terrorist organizations and posters of known terrorists who are actively seeking the slaughter of Jews and the annihilation of Israel,” said Smith to the Examiner.
GOP Representative: There “needs to be some serious oversight and accountability”
Republican Representative Tim Burchett of Tennessee, who also serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Examiner there “needs to be some serious oversight and accountability” and “somebody should lose their job” if tax dollars are funding terror-tied groups.
NGO Monitor said officials at the Phoenix Center have participated in conferences with personnel from the PFLP and PIJ.
In July 2022, the center said on its website that it discussed President Biden’s visit to the West Bank. According to the watchdog group, participants in the discussion included senior PFLP and PIJ members.
On September 19, 2022, the center hosted a discussion on “the escalation of the crimes of the Israeli occupation,” which included Khader Habib, senior PIJ, who once said his group would “slaughter” Jewish people in Israel.
NGO Monitor President says the State Department had apparently not “carefully vetted” its awards to the Phoenix Center, according to the Examiner.
USAspending.gov shows the State Department awarded the Phoenix Center $60,000 for the project that began September 12 and aimed to “develop and enhance the knowledge and skills” of Palestinians and “enhance the knowledge and skills of Palestinians in “public speaking, storytelling, and digital networking.”
The end date of the award is August 31, 2024.
The State Department also awarded the Phoenix Center $30,088 for an August 28, 2023, to July 31, 2024 project that is related to information technology and mainly to “raise the awareness of IT trends and provide networking opportunities with IT employers in Europe and Asia for target audiences,” according to records.