Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)

Introduction

The Union of Agricultural Work Committee (UAWC) is identified by Fatah as an official “affiliate” and by USAID-engaged audit as the “agricultural arm” of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the USEUCanada, and Israel. UAWC is also highly active in promoting BDS campaigns and utilizing inflammatory rhetoric. For more information on UAWC’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Union of Agricultural Work Committees Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”

 

Profile

Country/TerritoryPalestinian Authority
Websitehttp://uawc-pal.org/
Founded1986
In their own wordsA “non-profit organization by a group of volunteers and agronomists” in response to what it calls “the vulnerable socio-political circumstance of farmers that resulted from occupation policies in confiscating lands and water in the early eighties and therefore directly harmed the interests of farmers and Palestinians.”

Funding

Activities

  • The Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) describes itself as a “non-profit organization by a group of volunteers and agronomists” in response to what it calls “the vulnerable socio-political circumstance of farmers that resulted from occupation policies in confiscating lands and water in the early eighties and therefore directly harmed the interests of farmers and Palestinians.”
  • According to its website, in its early years UAWC “focused on struggling with the Israeli Occupation’s procedures that marginalized agriculture and destroyed the infrastructure of Palestinian agriculture… During the current Intifada (from the beginning of this century) and after the deterioration of the economic circumstance of the majority of Palestinians and mainly farmers, a change occurred on the nature of the Union’s programs as emergency projects became the bulk of its work.”
  • Aims to bring about a “Palestinian society that is food secured enjoys social justice, holds on its land and lives in a democratic Free Palestinian State, enjoys sovereignty over his resources; where farmers both male and female, contribute effectively in all aspects of life.”
  • In January 2020, Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), of which UAWC is a member, vehemently opposed a new clause in European Union grant contracts with Palestinian NGOs that prohibits grantees from working with and funding organizations and individuals designated on the EU’s terror lists. According to media reports, PNGO claimed that Palestinian terrorist organizations are “political parties.”

UAWC Ties to the PFLP

  • UAWC is identified by Fatah as an official PFLP “affiliate,” and by USAID as the “agricultural arm” of the PFLP. According to academic scholar Glenn E. Robinson, UAWC was founded in 1986 by “agronomists loosely affiliated with the PFLP.” For more information on UAWC’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Union of Agricultural Work Committees Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”
  • According to the Israeli NGO Shurat HaDin, UAWC “was established by the PFLP; is controlled by senior PFLP operatives; makes its assets available to the PFLP; and acts in coordination with and to advance the interests of the PFLP (including active involvement in PFLP political activity).”
  • In June 2018, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express shut down online credit card donations for UAWC due to its ties to the PFLP.
  • In 2012, World Vision Australia suspended activities with UAWC due to its alleged ties to the PFLP.
  • In 2010, UAWC organized “a solidarity day with the Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmed Saadat…” The “solidarity day” featured Muhammad Bakri, executive director of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees in Gaza, and celebrated “the tenth anniversary of the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi” (an attack perpetrated by the PFLP).

UAWC Staff Ties to the PFLP

Political Advocacy

  • UAWC rhetoric includes accusations of “ethnic cleansing,” “collective punishment,” and “apartheid,” as well as supporting a Palestinian “right of return.”
  • Utilizes highly biased and demonizing rhetoric, accusing the “Israel occupation forces” of “continuing its brutal and immoral offensive [2014] war on Gaza” and an ongoing “policy of collective punishment in disregard for the international law and humanitarian law… in violation of the principles of necessity, proportionality and distinction.”
  • UAWC omits Palestinian terrorism and Hamas rocket fire aimed at Israeli civilians, promoting views based solely on the Palestinian narrative of victimization.
  • In April 2018, during the violence on the Gaza border, UAWC published a statement calling to “end and isolate the Israeli killing machine, to expose and stop the field executions of civilians in Gaza, people of the world today must stop the hand of the ugly capitalism extended in the region through the occupying state, the greatest tool in the region and force it to end its occupation of Palestine.” UAWC ignored the violent nature of the protests, which have consisted of an organized armed attack on the Israeli border and IDF positions, attempts to destroy and breach the border fence, and sustained arson, rocket, and mortar attacks on Israeli civilian communities.
  • In January 2018, as a member of Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network- Friends of Earth Palestine (PENGON), released statement on the occasion of Land Day accusing Israel of “Zionist expansionism and massive Israeli land grabs,” and stated that “Apartheid, which is what we live under, is the atrocious conglomeration of colonialism, racism, denial of self-determination, and expulsion..”
  • In November 2017, UAWC was a signatory on a call to support “A World Without Walls,” drawing comparisons between “Israel’s apartheid wall on Palestinian land to the US wall of Shame on indigenous land at the border with Mexico.”
  • In September 2017, as a member of PENGON, UAWC was a signatory on a call to restaurant chefs to “Take Apartheid off the Menu” and cancel their participation in the Tel Aviv “Round Tables Tour” as it “uses the time-honored tradition of sharing culinary experiences as a means for whitewashing widespread violation of Palestinian fundamental rights, including the right to food.”
  • On September 1, 2016, UAWC signed a letter to the Italian Association of Farmers asking them to “rethink their sponsorship and participation” in the Israeli Watec Conference due to its “role in the grave violations of human rights and water rights” and compliance with “water apartheid.”
  • In November 2015, UAWC wrote a letter to the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urging the UN to take “action against Israel’s systematic policy of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people in the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, and the discrimination against Palestinians in occupied Palestinian land in 1948. We urge the United Nations to finally acknowledge the systematic killing and injuring of Palestinian civilian as a war crime and a crime against humanity.”
  • In September 2014, UAWC signed on an appeal to the Union of European Football Associations to “exclude the bid of the Israeli Football Association (IFA) for Jerusalem to host UEFA …given Israel’s recent war crimes against the people of Gaza and the on-going occupation and persistent human rights violations against Palestinians, including in the field of sports.”
  • According to its 2012 annual report, “UAWC staff and its volunteers and agricultural committees carried out a number of anti-occupation public events in the West Bank and Gaza in 2012” including: “Palestinian reconciliation and its impact on the agricultural reality”; “the anniversary of the Nakba”; “the land is ours”; “organizing field visits for delegations and foreign solidarity activists.”

BDS Activities

  • In 2018-2019, UAWC lobbied in support of the discriminatory UN blacklist of businesses supposedly operating across the 1949 Armistice line, aimed at bolstering BDS campaigns against Israel.
  • In November 2019, PNGO, of which UAWC is a member, signed a statement calling for the “international community to immediately impose sanctions on the State of Israel and illegal Israeli settlements” and “implement domestic legislation to prohibit and criminalize the import of illegal settlement goods and services into their territory.”
  • In May 2019, UAWC was a signatory on a statement calling on the German Bundestag to revoke a joint resolution defining BDS campaigns against Israel as antisemitic.
  • Signed (together with AddameerBADILAl-Mezan, and the Palestinian Center for Democracy & Conflict Resolution) on a Joint Call to Action: July 2014 – Month against the Apartheid Wall stating: “….it is time for a ‘legal intifada’, an intensified popular struggle and more boycotts, divestment and sanctions….We ask you to expand and deepen the global BDS movement for justice…”
  • In February 2013, UAWC organized protests of Palestinian farmers as part of a “day of action” to “support boycotts of Israeli agricultural corporations.”
  • In May 2012, UAWC signed on a call to supermarket chains to implement a “ban on trade with all companies that export from illegal Israeli settlements as a minimal form of ending complicity in Israel’s occupation and apartheid.”
  • In May 2005, signed a petition calling for the academic boycott of Israel as a means to “isolate Apartheid Israel…forging effective solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, self-determination and sovereignty.”
  • Signatory to the 2005 “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS” which calls for an end to Israel’s “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands” and promotes the right of “Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties.”

Partners

  • Member of Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network- Friends of Earth Palestine (PENGON).
    • In January 2018, on the occasion of Land Day, PENGON accused Israel of “Zionist expansionism and massive Israeli land grabs,” and stated that “Apartheid, which is what we live under, is the atrocious conglomeration of colonialism, racism, denial of self-determination, and expulsion.”
    • In March 2018, PENGON published an article about the EU’s energy projects with Israel, stating that “The EU has a legal duty of non-recognition, including the duty to give no aid or assistance in the maintenance of the unlawful situation created by Israel in the OPT with these serious violations.  EU purchases of Israeli gas would enable substantial revenues to be used in Israel’s militarisation and de facto annexationist policies of the occupied Palestinian territory and appropriation and exploitation of its natural resources.”
  • Member of the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), which was instrumental in producing many of the preparatory documents for the Durban 2001 conference including the document calling for embargoes on Israel.
    • In January 2020, PNGO vehemently opposed a new clause in European Union grant contracts with Palestinian NGOs that prohibits grantees from working with and funding organizations and individuals designated on the EU’s terror lists. According to media reports, PNGO claimed that Palestinian terrorist organizations are “political parties.”
    • In April 2017, PNGO called on the international community not to “use aid to undermine legitimate Palestinian resistance.” According to PNGO, “We reject all de-legitimization or criminalization of lawful Palestinian resistance, whether in form of allegations of terrorism, anti-semitism or otherwise… We call on all governments and aid providers to respect our right to lawful resistance, support Palestinian human rights defenders, and ensure equal, impartial and transparent access to funding for all.”
    • In March 2016, as a member of Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), PNGO stated that “Israel’s current government, its most racist ever, has dropped all pretences of ‘enlightenment’ and ‘democracy’. This has helped to expose Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid to world public opinion like never before.”

Funding to UAWC

GovernmentDonorYear(s)Amount
France AFD (France)2019€232,000
GermanyMedico International2017N/A
ItalyAssociazione Di Cooperazione E Solidarieta (Italy)2018-2021€527,102
Organizzazione Per Lo Sviluppo Globale Di Comunita’ In Paesi Extraeuropei Onlus 2018-2020€241,471
NetherlandsRepresentative Office in Ramallah (NRO)2019€1.67 million
2018€2.58 million
2017€3.81 million
NorwayNorwegian People’s Aid2018NOK 13,155,986
2017NOK 13,398,655
2016NOK 12,355,023
SpainAECID 2017€386,422
2016€290,086
Belgium Oxfam Solidarité2018€25,848
2017€260,154
Solidaridad Internacional Andalucia2018€445,778
Grassroots International2017N/A
United NationsUN OCHA2018$400,000
2017$248,941
2017$230,585

Footnotes

  1. OPT-17/A/97156/R (found on fts.unocha.org and on file with NGO Monitor).

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