UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

Dutch Government ends donations to UAWC.

The Dutch Government has ended donations to the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), following an external investigation into their  links with a terrorist organisation.

The investigation came as a result of UK Lawyers for Israel’s questions to the Dutch Government as to why they were donating to an organisation given the allegations that it was closely linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

UKLFI sent information to the Dutch government, and to several Dutch MPs who raised the issue in Parliament, which resulted in the external investigation.

Around 21.5 million Euros had been donated to the UAWC before the funding was put on hold after the issue was raised in parliament in August 2020.

According to the Dutch publication  “De Telegraaf”  the investigation found that 34 employees of UAWC had individual ties with the terrorist organization. In 12 cases there was talk of a ‘double mandate’. “They held both leadership positions with UAWC and positions with the PFLP for an overlapping period of time.” According to the report in De Telegraaf,  there are also links between the two organizations ‘at an organizational level’.

Caroline Turner, UKLFI director commented:  “This is fantastic news.  Now we hope the other European funders of UAWC will follow suit and cease their donations. “

Oxfam was another of UAWC’s donors to whom UKLFI wrote several times over the past three years regarding their donations.  Responding to UKLFI’s letters, Oxfam said it would await the outcome of the Dutch enquiry.

Simon Ticehurst, who was Interim Oxfam Global Program Director at  Oxfam International told UKLFI in August 2020: “we will review the findings of the investigation by the Dutch government carefully following the completion of their inquiries”.  UKLFI now expects Oxfam to stop all donations to the UAWC.

Thomas Ball, of Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs previously told UKLFI in November 2020:   “the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes appropriate steps to investigate allegations made towards partnering organizations. In the absence of conclusive proof or legal rulings against a partner we will maintain trust in their ability to work towards a better future for the Israeli and Palestinian people and in assisting the official authorities in reaching a peaceful two state solution.”

Given the Dutch findings reported by De Telegraaf, the Norwegian position now appears untenable.

UKLFI thanks NGO Monitor for providing information on the links between UAWC and the PFLP,  and The Hague Initiative for International Cooperation (thinc) for putting us in touch with the Dutch MPs.

UAWC was recently designated by the Israeli Government as a terrorist organisation.