JERUSALEM (AP) – Palestinian officials called a Dutch delegation on Monday to reject the Dutch proposal to suspend funding from a Palestinian militant group that Israel has opposed the conflict as a terrorist group.
In a statement, the PA condemned the “unfair and discriminatory” decision to cut funding from the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, one of six groups Israel banned in October in what protesters said were attacking Palestinian organizations.
The Palestinian Authority, which oversees parts of the West Bank that seized and secured security with Israel, said the UAWC provides much-needed support to Palestinian farmers who are struggling to stay afloat in terms of expanding Israeli settlements.
The Dutch government based its decision on the independent review of the UAWC found there is no evidence that the agency is involved in terrorism. It added that the survey found that the “alarming” number of UAW members was linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a left-wing military force. Two former UAWC staff members have been arrested in connection with a bomb that killed an Israeli teenager in the West Bank in 2019.
The UAWC denied the findings, saying it had nothing to do with the secret politics of its members or employees. The PFLP has a political party as well as charitable organizations with armed wings. Israel and the West see the PFLP as a terrorist group because of the terrorists who killed civilians decades ago.
Israel says the six groups are part of the PFLP but have gave little evidence to prove the allegations. The mention of terrorists provides a way for the Israeli military to close down the groups and arrest its members, but they have to do so.
Human rights groups are criticizing Israel’s claims, which it says are aimed at preventing the people and forcing Western organizations to give up money.
Six groups of state-owned enterprises live in the West Bank occupied by Israel during the 1967 war. Palestinians want the West Bank to form a large part of their future state. Peace work was suspended more than a decade ago.