UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

Designated Palestinian NGO  awarded  prize by UK Refugees charity  

A Palestinian NGO, designated by Israel last year,  has won a £25,000 prize from Ockenden International, a UK based Refugees charity.

The Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) is one of four winners of the Ockenden Prize for refugee and/or displaced people projects.

The chairman of Ockenden’s  2022 judging panel was Michael Buerk, the presenter of the BBC’s “Moral Maze” programme.

UK Lawyers for Israel has now written to all the Trustees of Ockenden International, as well as to all the judges of the competition, to  let them know that: –

  • UAWC was designated by Israel on 19 October 2021 as a terrorist organisation.

  • Several employees of the UAWC are currently standing trial for a terrorist atrocity: murdering 17 year Rina Shnerb, and injuring her father and brother in August 2019

  • A Dutch investigation of UAWC, which reported its findings in early January 2022 found that more than 34 employees/board members had concurrent roles at a terrorist organisation – the PFLP. The Netherlands government ended funding of the UAWC as a result of their investigation.

UKLFI also reminded the trustees and the judges that  the rules of the prize require that organisations must have high standards of financial and administrative governance.   We believe that UAWC is in breach of this requirement because:

  1. Those in charge of UAWC’s finances – its finance director and former finance director – are currently standing trial and are accused of using UAWC’s facilities to plan the murder.

  2. UAWC’s recently appointed auditors, Ernst & Young, resigned their appointment following Israel’s designation of UAWC as a terrorist entity, amid accusations that funds had been misused

  3. The Dutch government concluded that there was a lack of candour regarding individual ties between the UAWC and the PFLP terrorist group.

  4. Financial organisations such as credit card companies have previously severed their links with UAWC due to its links with the PFLP terrorist group.

Caroline Turner, director of UKLFI commented:  “We do not know whether the trustees of Ockenden International, or indeed the Judging Panel  were aware of any of this information about UAWC  when this prize was awarded. But now that they are  aware, we hope that they will withdraw the prize from UAWC  and award it to a more deserving recipient.”