Netherlands suspends funding to Palestinian NGO
The Netherlands said Wednesday it would cease funding a Palestinian NGO because of its “individual links” to a group deemed a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union.
The Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) is accused of ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a group blamed for a 2019 West Bank attack that killed an Israeli woman.
The NGO is also one of six civil society groups Israel designated a “terrorist organisation” in October for alleged links with the Palestinian group.
“The individual links between the UAWC and the PFLP and the lack of openness over this subject from UAWC… are the reasons for no longer funding the activities,” the Dutch government said in a letter to parliament following an investigation into the NGO.
However the inquiry into UAWC failed to show “organisational links between the UAWC and the PFLP” and did not show “funding flowing between the UAWC and the PFLP,” the government added.
The UAWC — which works with small farmers and has received financial support from the Netherlands since 2007 — said it was “shocked and saddened” by the decision.
“From the onset, this investigation was politically motivated and responded to pressure from the Israeli government,” it added.
Israel accuses the PFLP of being behind a September 2019 bomb attack in the West Bank that killed an Israeli teen.
Two men who were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the assault — and who are still under investigation — worked for UAWC.
While UAWC ceased employing the two and informed the Netherlands, they claimed neither man was involved in Dutch-funded activities.
But after an initial investigation, the Dutch government suspended payments to the group in 2020 and launched an external inquiry into possible connections between the UAWC and PFLP.
The investigation showed the plausible existence of links “at the individual level” between UAWC employees and board members and the PFLP.