Palestinians Summon Dutch Envoy Over NGO Aid Cutoff

YERUSHALAYIM -
Union of Agricultural Work Committees, one of six Palestinian groups recently outlawed by Israel for terrorist activities. (Mohammad Hijjawi)

The Palestinian Authority summoned the Dutch representative on Monday to object to the Netherlands’ decision to halt funding to a Palestinian group that Israel outlawed as a terrorist organization.

In a statement, the PA decried the “unjust and biased” decision to cut off funding to the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, one of six groups that Israel outlawed in October.

The Palestinian Authority said UAWC provides vital aid to Palestinian farmers.

The Dutch government based its decision on an independent audit of the UAWC that found no evidence the organization was involved in terrorism, but did find a “worrisome” number of UAWC board members linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a terrorist group. Two former UAWC employees were arrested in connection with a bombing that killed an Israeli teenager in Yehuda and Shomron in 2019.

The UAWC rejected the findings, saying it does not concern itself with the private political activities of its board members or employees. The PFLP has a political party as well as charities and an armed wing. Israel and Western countries consider the PFLP a terrorist organization because of attacks going back decades that have killed civilians.

Israel says the six groups are fronts for the PFLP but has not publicized evidence to substantiate the allegations. The Shin Bet presented a confidential dossier of evidence to European governments in May 2021. The terror designation paves the way for the Israeli military to shut down the groups and arrest their members, though it has yet to do so.

Reporting by AP.