The Dutch government announced that they were going to stop funding one of the six Palestinian NGOs designated as a terror organization by the Israeli government in October.
The Israeli government has alleged that the NGO in question, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), has ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is designated as a terror organization by the United States, Israel and other Western countries. The Times of Israel and Jerusalem Post reported that after a year-long investigation, the Dutch government had concluded that while they could not find any financial ties between the UAWC and PFLP, there are a “great number of UAWC board members with roles in both organizations.” They also concluded that the UAWC likely knew these members had connections to the PFLP and that the UAWC bars its members from having political affiliations.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry praised the Dutch government’s decision as “important” and suggested that that they will continue to have a “dialogue with the Netherlands and other countries regarding these organizations.” By contrast, the UAWC tweeted that the Dutch government’s move was “a breach of trust, which is likely to resonate far beyond our organization. It comes at a time that Palestinian civil society is under unprecedented attack.” A spokesperson for the organization also told a Dutch newspaper that they did not know about their members’ ties to the PFLP.
After many years of close and dedicated cooperation, the Dutch government decision to end its funding for UAWC amounts to a breach of trust, which is likely to resonate far beyond our organization. It comes at a time that Palestinian civil society is under unprecedented attack.
— Union of Agricultural Work Committees (@UAWC1986) January 6, 2022
Various pro-Israel groups praised the Dutch government’s decision.
“ILF [International Legal Forum] has long held that [the] UAWC is acting as a proxy of the internationally designated PFLP terror group while masquerading as a ‘human rights’ organization, part of Palestinian civil society,” the ILF said in a statement. “The decision of the Dutch government will help greatly assist in the fight against terror, by helping reduce the flow of funds to UAWC and their ability to carry out terror attacks, such as the one at the behest of the PFLP, that claimed the life of teenage girl Rina Shnerb in 2019. We call on other countries to follow the Dutch lead and immediately cease funding to the UAWC.”
— The International Legal Forum – ILF (@The_ILF) January 5, 2022
UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer tweeted that the Dutch government had found that “34 [UAWC] employees were tied to terrorist PFLP, 12 with dual leadership roles” and that the Dutch government “had paid the salaries of 2 UAWC employees involved in 2019 PFLP murder of 17-year-old girl Rina Shnerb.” “We welcome the Dutch government’s announcement that it will continue to support Palestinian civil society projects through legitimate aid NGOs that are not front groups for [European Union]-designated terrorist organizations such as the PFLP,” Neuer added. “It is vital to distinguish between the two.”
We welcome the Dutch government's announcement that it will continue to support Palestinian civil society projects through legitimate aid NGOs that are not front groups for EU-designated terrorist organizations such as the PFLP. It is vital to distinguish between the two.
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) January 5, 2022
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA) urged the Canadian government to follow the Dutch government’s lead, and linked to an NGO Monitor piece highlighting the connections between the UAWC and PFLP.
— CIJA (@CIJAinfo) January 6, 2022
— CIJA (@CIJAinfo) January 6, 2022