Monday, January 10, 2022

  • Monday, January 10, 2022
  • Elder of Ziyon

The Netherlands stopped its funding of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), one of six Palestinian NGOs Israel banned last year due to ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization.

The Dutch government had donated €21.5 million to UAWC, but suspended funding in 2020 after two senior UAWC officials were indicted for taking part in a bombing that killed Rina Shnerb, 17, in August 2019.

In a letter to the Dutch parliament released on Wednesday, two ministers wrote that the investigation found that 34 UAWC employees were active in the PFLP in 2007-2020, some at the same time as holding leadership positions in the terrorist group.

"The large number of board members of UAWC with a dual mandate is particularly worrying," Development Cooperation Minister Tom de Bruijn and Foreign Affairs Minister Ben Knapen wrote.
However, contrary to what Israel has said, the Dutch investigation did not find that UAWC itself was linked to the PFLP, organizationally or financially.

Still, the Dutch government criticized the UAWC board, saying that its behavior was a betrayal of trust. The ministers pointed out that the NGO’s own guidelines say employees may not be politically active and said the board should have been more transparent about those ties, and as such, they have decided to permanently stop funding UAWC.

The report also finds that several other Palestinian organizations could be viewed as "the social branch of the PFLP,” and De Bruijn wrote that the Dutch cabinet will look at its donations to other Palestinian NGOs, as well.

The ties between the PFLP and UAWC are fairly clear: The PFLP founded the NGO. 

The Fatah website identified the UAWC as an "affiliate" of the PFLP (along with the Union of 
Health Work Committees and the Addameer Foundation.)  Abdel-Raziq Hassan Yassin Farraj, another PFLP member, was the financial and administrative director at the UAWC according to this site. 

This biography of Rabah Hassan Abdel Aziz Muhanna shows the close ties between the PFLP, terrorism and these NGOs. Note the timeline where he remained involved in terror even after helping found these NGOs:
Muhanna worked as a doctor at Shifa Hospital in Gaza in 1972, and as a consultant in endocrinology and diabetes. Muhanna belonged to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in 1979. He participated in founding the Union of Health Work Committees in 1985, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees in 1986, the Addameer Foundation for Prisoner Care and Human Rights in 1991, and the Return Hospital of the Health Work Committees in Jabalia in 1997. Muhanna was a deputy President of the Medical Society between 1981-1991, Vice-President of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in the Gaza Strip and member of its board of directors, and member of the Palestinian Higher Health Council between (1993-1996). In 2000, he participated in the Sixth Conference of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and was elected A member of its political bureau, he became its official in the Gaza Strip. He ran for the Palestinian legislative elections in 2006 for the Gaza district, but he did not win.
There is no distinction in Palestinian society between membership in terror groups and working in NGOs.

The Palestinian Authority protested the decision today,  calling on the Dutch government to cancel its decision. It's press release is interesting, because it says, "This decision would open the door wide to the Israeli occupation of the widest attack on development activities that benefit thousands of Palestinians in the so-called area C." 

This makes it sound like the UAWC was directing land grabs of areas under Israeli control in Area C.

The UAWC is calling for a protest outside the Netherlands Representative Office in Ramallah tomorrow.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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