End the Siege on Gaza
The Sfendoni 8000
The building housing the PRC offices in London
The Sfendoni 8000, the ECESG’s vessel in the Mavi Marmara flotilla. The number refers to the 8000 Palestinian terrorists detained by Israel.
1. The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) is an anti-Israel, pro Hamas umbrella organization operating in Europe. It participated in the last flotilla (which ended with a violent confrontation aboard the Mavi Marmara) along with a coalition of four other anti-Israel organizations led by the Turkish IHH. Since then the ECESG and the other coalition members have been intensively promoting new programs with the objective of embarrassing Israel and deepening its isolation. The coalition projects include an upgraded flotilla which has been organizing for several months as Freedom Fleet 2 (its organizers hope to include more than 20 ships from various countries), and sending a plane to the Gaza Strip.
2. The ECESG was founded in 2007, the same year as Hamas’ violent takeover of the Fatah and Palestinian Authority institutions in the Gaza Strip. Its declared objectives are "the complete lifting" of the so-called Israeli "siege" of the Gaza Strip and bringing humanitarian assistance to its residents. However, beyond that goal, which is supported by Western human rights organizations and activists, lie hidden its undeclared political objectives. They include strengthening the de facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip and making it difficult for Israel (and Egypt) to achieve effective oversight of arms smuggling and the infiltration of terrorist operatives into the Gaza Strip through the land crossings and by sea. While the ECESG advances its support for Hamas in the Gaza Strip, there is no mention on the organization’s website or in statements made by its senior members of similar support for the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria (focusing on the Gaza Strip is characteristic of pro-Hamas organizations which do not publicly admit their intention to support it).
3. From the organizational point of view, the ECESG is an umbrella organization which links more than 30 pro-Palestinian and pro-Hamas organizations in various European countries. Some of them actually exist, and undertake broad anti-Israel activities, and some of them are virtual and even imaginary (See Appendix). The ECESG is officially based in Brussels but most of its activity takes place in Britain (a focal point for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood’s European activities).
4. The ECESG represents itself as a European organization operating from Brussels, but an examination of its senior staff reveals that it is headed by a number of Palestinian activists, some from the Gaza Strip, most of whom live in and operate from London. In addition there are two British subjects, one the organization’s spokesman and the other a woman member of the British Parliament and former Minister, who represents the ECESG in meetings with world leaders. Some of the Palestinian ECESG senior figures are also active in other anti-Israel organizations, the most important of which is the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC).
5. In addition to the organizations within the ECESG, it is supported by more than 40 individual activists ("VIPs," according to its website) who do not belong to any particular one. There are members of Parliament, especially those from the Labour Party and the leftist parties in Britain, Scotland and Ireland, as well as the green parties and environmentalists (See Appendix IV).
6. According to our information:
A. Organizationally, the ECESG is an umbrella organization composed of NGOs from various European countries. Some of them have their own networks and others have only a small number of activists, or even do not exist at all (some of them do not have an Internet presence and no information about them can be ascertained). The ECESG sometimes does not operate by itself, preferring to join forces with other pro-Palestinian, pro-Hamas organizations (such as Viva Palestina and the Free Gaza Movement).
B. Ideologically, the ECESG is heterogeneous, and had activists who are Islamist, leftist (especially from the extreme left), human rights activists, labor union members and even ecologists. However, in our assessment, the central factors behind it are organizations and activists affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas (although they are careful not to admit it). Their common denominator is their fierce opposition to Israel’s policies and in certain instances – although not all – their rejection of the legitimacy of the existence of the State of Israel as an independent Jewish state and homeland of the Jewish people.1
C. The ECESG hides its true intentions. The ECESG and the various organizations operating within it represent themselves as promoting the so-called "Palestinian rights," and make extensive use of the terminology used by human rights organizations, but its main objectives are really political, and include the defamation of Israel, eroding its legitimacy as an independent Jewish national state and strengthening the de facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip. It is not clear whether and to what degree the human rights activists who support the ECESG are fully aware of the organization’s Islamist agenda.
D. The nature of its activities: ECESG and the organizations affiliated with it conduct a variety of activities. They organize land and sea convoys which bring equipment and money for the de facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip; lead boycotts of Israeli products, institutions and figures; promote the demand for the Palestinian refugees’ so-called "right to return" as a way of causing difficulties for the peace process; influence political institutions and public opinion through demonstrations and disseminating "information;" hold seminars and transfer funds to Hamas institutions (some of the organizations and senior figures in the ECESG also have had ties to the Union of Good).
The building housing the PRC offices in London. The offices of the ECESG are located
in the same building (Photo courtesy of Israel Channel 10 TV, August 25, 2010).
7. This report contains the following appendices:
A. Appendix I – The senior ECESG activists.
B. Appendix II – Past and present ECESG activity.
C. Appendix III – Organizations participating in the ECESG campaign.
D. Appendix IV – "VIPs" who support the ECESG.
1 Radical Muslim ideology was apparent among individuals and organizations aboard the Mavi Marmara, where the Muslim Brotherhood was well represented. For further information see the October 5, 2010 bulletin, "Conspicuous among the passengers and organizations aboard the Mavi Marmara were Turkish and Arab Islamic extremists led by IHH…" at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/ipc_e127.pdf.