Palestinians convene Dutch envoy on interruption of NGO aid

The Palestinian Authority has convened representatives of the Netherlands to oppose the Dutch decision to stop funding to Palestinian civil society groups that Israel has controversially banned

JERUSALEM – The Palestinian Authority summoned Dutch representatives on Monday to oppose the Dutch decision to stop funding a Palestinian civil society group, which Israel controversially made a terrorist organization illegal.

In a statement, the Palestinian Authority condemned the “unjust and biased” decision to cut off funding for the Agricultural Work Committee Coalition, one of six groups that Israel banned in October. Critics called it Attacks on Palestinian civil society.

The Palestinian Authority, which manages parts of the occupied West Bank and coordinates security with Israel, stated that UAWC provides important assistance to Palestinian farmers who are struggling to stay on their land in the face of expansion of Israeli settlements.

The Dutch government’s decision was based on an independent audit of UAWC, and no evidence of the organization’s involvement in terrorism was found. It stated that the audit did find that the “worrying” UAWC board members were associated with the left-wing militant group, the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Two former UAWC employees were arrested in the 2019 bombing that killed an Israeli teenager in the West Bank.

UAWC refused to accept the results of the investigation, saying it does not care about the private political activities of its board members or employees. PFLP has a political party, charity and an armed department. Israel and Western countries consider PFLP to be a terrorist organization, because attacks dating back decades have caused civilian deaths.

Israel says that these six groups are the front lines of the PFLP, but they have provided little evidence to substantiate these allegations. The terrorist designation paved the way for the Israeli military to shut down these groups and arrest their members, but it has not yet done so.

Human rights groups deny Israel’s allegations. They say they are designed to stifle civil society and force Western donors to cut off funding.

These six civil society groups are located in the occupied West Bank, which Israel occupied in the 1967 war. The Palestinians want the West Bank to be a major part of their future country. More than ten years ago, the peace process came to a standstill.