The IDF: The 62-year-old woman confessed to her role as a “fundraiser for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP),” a U.S. and EU-designated terrorist group.
An Israeli military court has sentenced a Spanish woman to 13 months for raising money for a Palestinian terrorist group.
According to official Israeli sources, the 62-year-old Spanish citizen confessed to her role as a “fundraiser for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP),” the U.S. and EU-designated terrorist group.
“Juana Ruiz Sánchez was sentenced to 13 months in prison and ordered to pay a fine of 50,000 shekels, or roughly $16,000. With credit for time already served, she could be released in the coming weeks,” The Associated Press reported Wednesday.
Sánchez worked the Union of Health Work Committees, an NGO Israel banned in 2020 for its ties to the PFLP terrorist group. The PFLP, a Palestinian Marxist terrorist group, receives funding from the Shia-Islamist regime of Iran and carries out many of its terror attacks in close coordination with Gaza-based jihadi group Hamas.
The conviction comes after last month’s Israeli decision to designate six NGOs run by the PFLP as a terrorist organization. The banned NGOs were the “central source” of funding for the PFLP terrorist group and received “large sums of money from European countries and international organisations,” the Israeli defense ministry revealed.
The newspaper Israel Hayom reported the conviction in the latest terror-financing case:
An Israeli military court on Wednesday handed down a reduced sentence to a Spanish woman who admitted in a plea bargain to raising funds for a West Bank nongovernmental organization that were diverted to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Juana Ruiz Sánchez was sentenced to 13 months in prison and ordered to pay a fine of 50,000 shekels, or roughly $16,000 for “performing a service for an outlawed organization” and illegal money transfers into the West Bank.
With credit for time already served, she could be released in the coming weeks.
The woman agreed to a plea bargain on Nov. 10 in an Israeli military court.
Observers say it could mark a watershed in Israel’s fight against a network of Palestinian “humanitarian” organizations that fundraise under false pretenses, which are then used to finance terror activities.
Imprisoned since April, Sánchez admitted as part of the Nov. 10 plea bargain that she worked as a fundraiser for the Health Work Committees, an NGO the Defense Ministry designated a terrorist organization in January 2020.
Sánchez, 63, who is married to a Palestinian and lives in the West Bank, started working for HWC around 1993, according to court documents obtained by JNS. A fluent Spanish speaker, her main job was raising funds from Spanish organizations and the Spanish government, the documents said. (The majority of the donations to HWC come from Spain, comprising 30% of its total income between 2010 and 2019.)
Sánchez continued to work for the organization despite suspecting it worked on behalf of the PFLP, which has also been designated a terror group by the United States and European Union, according to the indictment.
The PFLP gained notoriety in the 1970s when it carried out a series of hijackings and terrorist attacks targeting Israeli, the U.S., and European civilians— many of them in coordination with West German left-wing terror groups, including the notorious Baader Meinhof Gang. PFLP’s Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades was part of the terrorist alliance that fired more than 4,500 rockets on Israeli towns and cities in May 2021.
According to the Jerusalem-based watchdog NGO monitor, the ties between the PLFP terror group and banned outfit, Union of Health Work Committees, are widely known. “UHWC is identified by [PLO] Fatah as a PFLP “affiliate” and in a 1993 USAID-engaged audit report (by the Democratic Institutions Support Project) as “the PFLP’s health organization,” the watchdog noted in a 2020 report.
Besides its terrorist ties, the organization plays a vital role in the antisemitic Israel boycott movement. “UHWC signed the 2005 Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS and helped organize the 2007 First Palestinian Conference for the Boycott of Israel (BDS),” the NGO Monitor reported. “UHWC uses demonizing rhetoric, including accusing Israel of “Urbanicide,” “Genocide,” and “mass killing of civilians,” the Israeli watchdog added.
The last month’s blacklisting of the six PFLP front groups angered the Biden administration, prompting the State Department to publicly “rebuke” Israel.
“The US State Department criticized the announcement on Friday in the most explicit admonition from the Biden administration since the new Israeli government was formed in June,” the Jerusalem Post reported last month. The left-wing Israel newspaper Haaretz called it “perhaps the Biden administration’s harshest public rebuke of Israel since [the new Israeli government took] office.”DONATE
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