The Netherlands continues to provide millions of dollars of grants to the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), despite evidence that this NGO has multiple links with a terrorist group, and two of its former employees are now on trial for a terrorist atrocity. The Netherlands contributed over $10 million to UAWC from 2013 to 2016, and a further $13 million from 2017 to 2020.
Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in the Netherlands
In May 2019 UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) wrote to Peter Mollema, Head of Mission of the Netherlands Representative Office in the Palestinian Territories, highlighting the many links between UAWC and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated terrorist group whose aim is the destruction of the State of Israel.
In particular UKLFI pointed out that Abdul Razaq Farraj, an employee of UAWC “had been arrested many times since 1986 by Israeli security forces and was sentenced to 6 and 4.5 year imprisonment terms (in 1986 and 1993 respectively). He was re-arrested by administrative order in 2002, 2009 and 2011. The Israeli military court in the West Bank upheld the administrative arrest based on classified intelligence information. The military court noted that Farraj is an operative of PFLP and that his release may constitute a danger to the security of the area.”
In April 2018 Farraj was described by Amnesty International as finance and administrative director of UAWC.
UKLFI received no response from the Netherlands. But on 23 August 2019 the PFLP carried out a bombing, which killed 17 year old Rina Shnerb and injured her father and brother. Farraj, who had been an employee of UAWC for 30 years, was arrested by the IDF in late 2019 as part of a 50 person PFLP terror network. According to his indictment, he authorized the 23 August 2019 bombing of the Shnerb family.
On 7 May 2020 UKLFI wrote to the private office of Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in the Netherlands, enclosing a further dossier of information on the UAWC’s links to the PFLP, and again requesting that the Netherlands stops funding UAWC. Much of the evidence linking UAWC to the PFLP is contained in a recent NGO Monitor Report.
UKLFI also pointed out that the two contribution agreements between the Netherlands and the UAWC for 2013 to 2016 and 2017 to 2020, obtained by a Freedom of Information request by the International Legal Forum, contained a clause which said: “… the other party must refrain from supporting activities whose aim is to undermine the political autonomy of a state or to bring down a lawful government by unlawful means”.
Since the stated aim of the PFLP is the destruction of Israel and the UAWC is listed as an affiliated institution of the PFLP, it appears that the UAWC supports activities whose aim is to bring down a lawful government by unlawful means. The UAWC is therefore in breach of the terms of its contribution agreement with the State of the Netherlands.
Sigrid Kaag has failed to respond to questions put to her by UKLFI.
Caroline Turner, director of UKLFI commented: “It is truly shocking that the Netherlands continues to support an organisation whose former financial directors are now on trial for a horrific crime, carried out as part of a PFLP cell. The Netherlands ignored warnings about funding an organisation closely linked to terrorism, it failed to sever its links with the UAWC, and continued to pour millions of dollars into its operations.
The Netherlands is supporting an organisation that employed active terrorists, thus breaching the human rights of the terrorist victims, and the rights of Dutch tax payers, who have been put into the position of funding terrorists. We call on the State of the Netherlands to stop funding this organisation.”
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the multinational professional services network, is currently being investigated by the UK Government under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises in relation to its auditing of UAWC and another NGO alleged to have had links to the PFLP.