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Statement by UAWC after Dutch government announces review

22 July 2020

 For many years,
he Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) has been
attacked by the Israeli government and right-wing organization affiliated with
it. Most of our projects are in “Area C” of the occupied West Bank, where we help
vulnerable communities hold on to their land. The Israeli government has built
illegal settlements in this area and wants to annex it. This is the key reason
why we are attacked.


We have been exposed to toxic smear campaigns in an attempt
to intimidate our donors and stop their funding. During the past years, several
donor governments have launched reviews into recurring allegations that UAWC is
linked to the PFLP. Each time, such allegations were proven to be false.


UAWC is an independent organization, which has no political
or religious affiliation with any party or political organization. It is
governed by a set of regulations, by-laws, policies, systems and procedures,
which meet international best standards and good practices. International
donors and NGOs attest to UAWC’s full compliance, accountability and


One of our long-time donors is the Dutch government. We are most grateful for the support we have been receiving
from the Netherlands. This has improved the lives of tens of thousands of
Palestinian families depending on agriculture.


On 20 July 2020, the
Dutch government announced it is launching its own review into alleged links
between UAWC and the PFLP. This review was triggered by the arrest last year of
two former employees of UAWC, suspected by Israeli authorities of involvement
in an attack near a settlement.


During interrogation and detention, both men have been denied
their right to humane treatment. One was tortured so severely that Amnesty
International released a
stressing torture is absolutely prohibited under international treaties. Four
UN human rights experts also issued a
calling on Israel “to ensure a prompt and impartial criminal investigation”.


In line with UAWC’s general policy preserving the
independence of our organization, our employees may not be politically active. Nevertheless,
the arrest of our former employees unleashed an unprecedented incitement and
defunding campaign against UAWC itself.


We await the review by the Dutch government with confidence
and stand ready to cooperate with it, as we have done before. In the context of
this review, we expect the Dutch government to pay due attention to the torture
of our former employees.


We are looking forward to the resumption of Dutch funding and
urge our other donors to maintain their support, which is essential to UAWC’s
financial and organizational sustainability. Tens of thousands of Palestinians
in the West Bank and Gaza Strip rely on us for critical support.


We call on the donor community and the international
community at large not to be carried away by campaigns designed to uproot,
marginalize and dispossess the Palestinian people, which have been under
Israeli military occupation for 53 years and are facing the grave threat of