On February 2, 2017, diplomats from the Netherlands Representative Office in Ramallah met with senior officials from a Palestinian NGO, Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), to sign an $11.5 million grant agreement. The Dutch contingent was led by its “Head of Cooperation,” Henny de Vries.
UAWC is closely linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), designated as a terrorist organization by the US, EU, Israel, and Canada. The NGO is listed by Fatah as a PFLP “affiliate” and a USAID-engaged audit refers to it as an arm of the terror group.
As seen in a picture posted on the Representative Office’s Facebook page, UAWC representatives to the signing ceremony included individuals currently standing trial or incarcerated due to their involvement in PFLP activities, as well as another official associated with jailed PFLP leader, Ahmed Sa’adat.
On July 20, the Dutch government announced it was freezing funding to UAWC over its close links to the terror group. 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 UAWC employees- Samer Arbid and Abdel Razeq Farraj- currently standing trial for their alleged role in an August 26, 2019 bombing that murdered an Israeli civilian.
As described below, Farraj was present at the signing ceremony with Dutch officials.
UAWC representatives at the signing
- Abdel Razeq Farraj: UAWC Finance and Administration Director
- According to his indictment (on file with NGO Monitor), Razeq Farraj held a senior PFLP post and authorized an August 26, 2019 bombing that killed 17 year-old Rena Shnerb. He is currently standing trial.
- Farraj also served a 1985-1991 prison sentence “after being convicted of affiliation with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.”
- Ubai Aboudi
- Apparently UAWC’s “M&E [Monitoring and Evaluation] Officer” until April 2019. In Abdel Razeq Farraj’s indictment, Aboudi is referenced as receiving instructions to recruit additional members to the PFLP. In June 2020, he was sentenced to 12-months in prison.
- Razeq Al-Barghouti: Chairman of the UAWC Board of Directors.
- A Fatah-affiliated website referred to Al-Barghouti as the representative of PFLP leader Ahmed Sa’adat when he spoke at a 2016 Prisoners’ Day rally in Ramallah.