The Dutch government has halted €8 million ($9,2 million) in funding, over three years, to the Palestinian NGO UAWC (Palestinian Union of Agricultural Work Committees) as a result of evidence showing that the group if linked to the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) terror group, the Dutch Foreign and Development Ministers, Stef Blok and Sigrid Kaag, told the parliament in The Hague.
They also announced that the country will also conduct an external investigation into UAWC’s ties to PFLP.
NGO Monitor, a watchdog group, has long warned of UAWC, a major recipient of Dutch funds, and its ties to the PFLP terror group. According to the watchdog group, since 2013, UAWC has received nearly $20 million from the Netherlands. During the past year, NGO Monitor researched and published its findings in a detailed report, briefed officials, and wrote a number of open letters to Dutch officials on this issue. The evidence we provided led to a number of parliamentary questions.
The Dutch government initially denied the allegations. However, after an internal review in the framework of parliamentary discussions, the Minister of Development confirmed NGO Monitor’s findings.
She admitted that the funds were used to pay the salaries of two senior UAWC employees, Samer Arbid and Abdel Razeq Farraj, who were arrested for the murder of a 17-year-old Israeli Rina Shnerb in August 2019 in a bomb attack at a spring near Dolev which also injured her father and her brother.
NGO Monitor has identified several groups, the Palestinian NGOs Addameer, Al-Dameer, Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), Health Work Committees (HWC), Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC), and Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC), as having substantial ties to the PFLP, designated as a terror group by the US, EU, Canada, Israel and other countries.
This is part of a wide-ranging network used by the terror group to gain legitimacy by operating under the façade of civil-society.
The research included documentation of millions of dollars in funding to these groups from the EU, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, France, Ireland, Norway, and Belgium, as well as support from the US, Canada, Japan, UN-OCHA, and UNICEF.
Over 70 current and former staff, board members, and general assembly members, as well as senior management and founders at these NGOs have direct ties to the PFLP. A number of them are employed in financial positions at the European-supported NGOs, raising questions about oversight and aid diversion.