AWDA (formerly Union of Health Work Committees - UHWC)
AWDA (UHWC) is identified by Fatah as an official PFLP “affiliate” and by a 1993 USAID-engaged audit as the “the PFLP’s health organization.” For more information on AWDA’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Union of Health Work Committees’ Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”
|In their own words||Provides comprehensive health services through a developmental community and social framework to all sectors of the Palestinian people especially the marginalized and poor ones through its health centers and community programs.|
- AWDA does not publish funding information, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.
- 2016 “Partners, Friends, and Supporters” include: Spain (AECID), Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, UK, UNRWA, Oxfam, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), UNDP, World Health Organization, NGO Development Center, World Vision, UNICEF, DanChurchAid, Save the Children, Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), UNFPA, Welfare Association, and the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. (See table below for further funding information.)
- In 2021-2022, AACID (Spain) is providing AWDA (as UHWC) and Paz con Dignidad with €330,000 for the “Comprehensive protection services for Gazan boys and girls in the Al Nuseirat refugee camp, in accordance with IHL and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”
- In 2020-2021, AECID (Spain) granted €300,000 to AWDA (as UHWC) for “improved access to comprehensive services for survivors of violence.”
- In 2020-2021, AWDA (as UHWC) and Spanish NGO Alianza por los Derechos, la Igualdad y la Solidaridad Internacional received €320,000 from AACID for “Strengthening of the projection system for women and girls survivors and at risk of gender and sexual violence in the Rafah Area, in the context of conflict and the Covid pandemic in Palestine.”
- In 2018-2021, AWDA (as UHWC) received $839,368 as part of a $17 million project with the NGO Development Center funded by the World Bank through its International Development Association.
- In 2019-2020, the UN OCHA occupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund granted AWDA (as UHWC) $2.3 million for various projects in Gaza.
- In 2019-2020, the Provincial Council of Bizkaia (Basque Autonomous Community) provided €80,000 to AWDA (as UHWC) and Paz con Dignidad for “Comprehensive Health Services for Women and Youth in Northern Gaza.”
- In 2014-2021, AWDA (as UHWC)received €1.4 million from Belgium via Viva Salud for “Youth in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.”
- AWDA activities include holding medical conferences and “Health Days,” and maintaining hospitals, medical center, and cultural centers throughout the Gaza Strip.
- AWDA itself is a PFLP-affiliated health committee active in Gaza, as identified by USAID and in Palestinian documents. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel.
- In November 2021, AWDA was a signatory on a statement condemning the decision by the Israeli Ministry to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations. According to the statement, “The main task of our institutions and of Palestinian human rights defenders is to work towards an end to the occupation, the dismantling of the apartheid regime and towards the realization of our collective human rights to self-determination and the right of return…We further call on diplomatic missions, parliamentary representatives, and international organizations to reject and condemn the unlawful designation of the six Palestinian CSOs, to pressure the United States to condemn Israel’s designation and call for its rescission.”
- Signed on the 2005 Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS and helped organize the First Palestinian Conference for the Boycott of Israel (BDS).
- AWDA has accused Israel of “Urbanicide,” “Genocide,” the “mass killing of civilians,” and called on its partners, including Oxfam, to condemn “Israel’s human rights violations against the Palestinian people.”
- Mona El-Farra, is a “health development consultant” for the Union of Health Work Committees, and according to American Friends Service Committee’s website, El-Farra also “heads the Rachel Corrie Children’s Center, which is also in Gaza. The center is a project of the Union of Health Work Committees.”
- In 2015, El Farra was denied a visa by the Israeli authorities to travel to a conference on Palestine in Dublin for “security reasons.”
- In May 2018, El-Farra participated in the “Palestinian Freedom Conference: Overcoming the Ongoing Nakba,” which discussed how “In late 1947, colonial Zionist paramilitary forces began the process of ethnically cleansing more than 750,000 Palestinians…70 years later…in Palestine a process of ongoing ethnic cleansing via occupation, colonisation, apartheid, and cruel siege continues apace, with no intervention from the international community.”
- In an interview in 2004, El-Farra explained that AWDA refused USAID funding because it came with the condition that they promise “not [to] give any help or any aid whatsoever for the families of the militiamen, or their relatives, or anyone related to ‘terrorist attacks’” because “we consider it resistance.”
AWDA’s Ties to the PFLP
- AWDA is identified by Fatah as an official PFLP “affiliate” and by a 1993 USAID-engaged audit as the “the PFLP’s health organization.”
- As academic scholar Glenn E. Robinson, who also identifies AWDA as a “PFLP-affiliated health committee,” explains “Many-probably most-doctors who joined the AWDA had political leanings similar to the leftist PFLP. As health committees tied to other political factions also existed, it was common for doctors and staff to work with that health group which reflected their politics. Both the providers and, to a lesser degree, the recipients of these medical services were aware of the larger political agenda. The ability to translate medical-and other social-services into a particular political vision was the key to the struggle within the Palestinian community for ideological hegemony” (emphasis added).
- HWC’s Youth Development Program, “A community, cultural, and social development program that provide services to Jerusalemite youth through ‘Nidal Center,’” was shut down by Israeli authorities from 2009 to 2012 because, in the words of the Jerusalem District Court, it served as “a place of action of the [PFLP] organization.” According to the Jerusalem District Court, “following the closure of the [Center], the PFLP began operating under the guise of the non-profit the Union of Health Work Committees – Jerusalem…on June 9, 2015 at the request of the Minister of Defense the non-profit was an unlawful organization…”
AWDA Staff Ties to the PFLP
- Rabah Muhanna
- Muhanna, one of AWDA’s founders and former head, served as a member of the PFLP political bureau.
- On May 5, 2019, the PFLP issued a statement mourning Muhanna’s death and referring to him as a “warrior and a great national leader” and “one of the most prominent national leaders in the Gaza Strip.” During his funeral, Muhanna’s coffin was escorted by armed PFLP militants.
- Rafat Al-Majdalawi
- In September 2021, Majdalawi, AWDA Executive Director, attended a PFLP ceremony in celebration of Khalida Jarrar’s release from Israeli prison after serving a two-year sentence. In 2019, Jarrar was arrested, together with tens of other PFLP members, and convicted of membership in the terror group. The arrests took place following an August 2019 bombing in which a 17-year-old Israeli civilian, Rina Shnerb, was murdered.
- In May 2019, Al-Majdalawi shared an official poster by the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades [the PFLP’s military wing] eulogizing deceased PFLP Political Bureau Member Rabah Muhanna. The poster referred to Muhanna as “the great comrade patriotic commander.”
- In April 2019, Al-Majdalawi hailed PFLP senior member and former PFLP Central Committee Member Ali Al-Qatawi on the occasion of the latter’s death. Al-Majdalawi wrote, “The comrade, commander and teacher Abu Saleh [Al-Qatawi’s alias]. We will depart from you with tears and a promise.”
- In December 2021, Amad news outlet reported that Al-Majdalawi was elected to PNGO’s coordinating office. Multiple PNGO officials have ties to terrorist organizations, and at least five PNGO members have ties to EU-designated terror organizations, including through their employees and/or board members who are directly involved in activities and programs.
- Mohammed Abdel Qader Abu Samr, founder and former AWDA member, has been described by the PFLP as a “comrade fighter” in a 2016 statement mourning his death.
- Magdi Yaghi
- Yaghi, AWDA treasurer and board member in 2016-2019, is referred to by the PFLP as a “member of the regional command” and a “comrade.”
- In February 2019, Yaghi participated in a memorial service organized by the PFLP for Maher Yamani, a PFLP “founder” and a “member of the Central Committee and one of its most prominent military commanders.”
- In addition to AWDA, Yaghi is involved with the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), another PFLP “affiliate.” In 2013, he served as a UAWC board member. He also participated in a 2019 UAWC event.
- Fares Nasser
- Suhail Al Tanani
- Al Tanani was referred to as the “Direction of the Union’s Communication and Advocacy Department” in an October 2019 interview posted on AWDA’s website.
- The PFLP refers to Al Tanani as a “comrade.”
- In January 2019, Al Tanani spoke at a PFLP-organized graduation ceremony at the Al-Qader school.
- Fadi Al Ajrami, a former member of AWDA’s Board of Directors (2016-2018), is also a “member of the Central Committee of the Popular Front” according to the PFLP.
- Dr. Tayser Al Sultan
- According to a March 2019 US Embassy document, Al Sultan is the “director” of AWDA.
- In 2015, Al Sultan attended a PFLP organized “graduation ceremony for the ‘Pioneers of Return’ camps in the Gaza Strip,” which featured armed PFLP activists performing military maneuvers.
- The relationship between the UHWC and the Health Work Committees is unclear, but the two have been described as “sister organization[s].”
- UHWC is a member of the Occupied Palestine and Syrian Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI).
- Other members of OPGAI include Alternative Information Center, BADIL, Defense for Children International- Palestine (DCI-P), Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI), Land Research Center, and Al Marsad.
- In April 2019, UHWC partnered with the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) for a project to “bring medical aid to Palestinians under siege in Gaza.” The project description placed sole blame on Israel and the blockade for the continuation of the conflict, while altogether omitting that the blockade was implemented in an effort to stop Palestinian terrorists from smuggling weapons and rockets into Gaza that would later be used to target Israeli civilians.
- UHWC’s Mona el-Farra is also director of Gaza projects for MECA.
Funding to UHWC
|Basque Agency for Development Cooperation (Spain)||€80,000||2019|
|Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA)||N/A||2017|
|NGO Development Center (NDC)||$17 million||2018-2021|
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