Dutch Foreign Trade Minister admits Israeli groups were correct, freezes funding to a Palestinian NGO that paid the salaries of Jewish teen’s killers.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
It took the Dutch government seven years to acknowledge they had been funding a Palestinian group that paid salaries to two terrorists convicted of murdering an Israeli teenager last year, the head of a Jerusalem-based watchdog organization said Wednesday.
NGO Monitor had been ringing the alarm bell about the connections between a Palestinian group called the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) and the Palestinian terror group, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Forced to answer questions about the UAWC in Holland’s parliament, Dutch Foreign Trade Minister Sirgrid Kaag on Tuesday admitted that Holland had provided tens of millions of Euros in funding to the group, despite being repeatedly informed about its connection to terrorism.
“A small group of Netherlands government officials directed €20 million to this terror-linked Palestinian “agriculture” NGO in the past 7 years. All documented by @NGOmonitor,” the organization’s founder Gerald Steinberg tweeted.
Last year, two employees of the UAWC were arrested and charged for their roles in the bombing attack that killed 17-year-old Rina Shnerb and wounded her father and brother. Both were found to be members of the PFLP, which is on the list of EU-recognized terror organizations.
Faced with the repeated evidence, Kaag finally ordered the suspension of financial support for the alleged Palestinian “aid” organization.
Israel’s Channel 20 news reported that the two were involved in the finance department of UAWC, so that their salaries were funded in part with Dutch taxpayer money.
“The government regrets that this has not become clear before. Because careful action is so important in this regard, I decided to commission external research into any ties between PFLP and UAWC and the way in which UAWC implements its own policy that employees should not be active politically before a decision can be taken about further cooperation with UAWC,” Sigrid Kaag.
The Dutch Jewish news website joods.nl slammed Kaag, saying not just NGO Monitor but other organizations repeatedly published reports about the “dubious ties between some Palestinian NGOs that receive subsidies from the Netherlands and possible ties they have with terror organizations” and had directly contacted the government and members of parliament in The Hague to bring the UAWC-terror connection to their attention.
“Minister Kaag’s claim that she was not aware of the UAWC’s ties to terrorist groups before comes across as cheap,” joods.nl said., saying the Dutch government had received numerous reports from NGO Monitor on the issue and other groups and individuals
NGO Monitor expressed the hope that the statement by the Dutch minister “will be followed up with serious sanctions and a demand for the return of Dutch money, as well as the installation of safeguards to prevent future misuse of public money.”