NGO Monitor Letter to Philippe Goffin, Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Deputy DG of Cooperation Guy Rayée
Dear Minister Goffin,
Dear Director Rayée,
In our previous letter (July 11, 2020), we alerted you to evidence that Belgian government grantees are linked to a terrorist organization. We write to you now to inform you of an important, related development in the Netherlands.
On July 20, the Dutch government announced that it was freezing funding to the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) due to close links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), designated as a terrorist organization by the EU and others. Foreign Minister Stef Blok and Development Minister Sigrid Kaag revealed that an internal government audit concluded that Dutch funds were used to pay the salaries of two individuals arrested for murder.
In the Belgium context, different ministries and their respective agencies are funding projects with the PFLP-linked NGOs Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), the Bisan center, and Health Work Committees (HWC). Several senior officials of these NGOs (UAWC, Bisan, and HWC) were arrested as part a 50-person terror cell operating in the West Bank allegedly responsible for a bomb attack that murdered a teenager in August 2019.
- Ubai Aboudi: Bisan’s Executive Director since April 2019. He was arrested by Israeli authorities on November 13, 2019. In an indictment of another recently indicted PFLP leader, Aboudi is referred to a PFLP member who was told to recruit additional members to the cell. In June 2020, Aboudi was sentenced to 12-months in prison.
- Itiraf Hajaj (Rimawi) served as Bisan’s previous Executive Director (from 2014 at least). He was arrested by Israeli forces in September 2019. The Israel Security Agency refers to Rimawi as being responsible for PFLP clandestine operations.
- Walid Hanatsheh (Abu Ras): Health Work Committees (HWC)’s finance and administration manager. Hanatsheh is on trial for allegedly being the leader of PFLP “military” operations and commanding the PFLP terror cell that carried out the August 2019 bombing attack. According to the indictment, Hanatsheh bankroll
ed the August bombing.
- Samer Arbid, UAWC accountant and previously UAWC “financial officer” (formerly Addameer’s accountant). Arbid is on trial for commanding the PFLP terror cell that carried out the bombing. According to the indictment (on file), Arbid prepared and detonated the explosive device.
- Abdel Razeq Farraj, UAWC “Finance and Administration Director.” According to his indictment (on file), Razeq Farraj held a senior PFLP post and authorized the August 2019 bombing. He is currently standing trial.
We urge you to immediately freeze any funds that may be going to all terror-linked NGOs, launch an investigation into previous grants to HWC, Bisan, and UAWC, and implement robust vetting mechanisms to ensure that terror-linked NGOs do not receive taxpayer funds.
Prof Gerald M. Steinberg Olga Deutsch
CC: Ambassador Mr. Jean-Luc Bodson, Ambassador of Belgium in Israel