An Australian NGO said on Thursday that it has resumed funding Gazabased
organization UAWC, following a legal warning last month that it was providing
financial aid to a Palestinian terrorist group.
The move came after civil
rights group the Israel Law Center (Shurat Hadin) sent a warning letter to World
Vision Australia, a Christian child advocacy group, after the Union of
Agricultural Work Committees listed it as a supporter.
Australian government agency, received a similar letter.
director attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and Australian solicitor Andrew
Hamilton said in the letters that the UAWC is the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine’s agricultural organization and as such is an agency of
the terrorist organization. The UAWC has offices in Gaza City.
letters warned that by supporting UAWC, World Vision was “aiding and abetting
Palestinian terrorism, and thereby violating Australian and United States
The Australian government recognizes the PFLP as a
proscribed terrorist group under the Charter of the United Nations Act 1945,
according to section 21 of which it is an offense for an individual or a body
corporate to directly or indirectly make an asset available to a proscribed
person or entity.
World Vision Australia spokeswoman Chloe Adams said in
a statement on Thursday that the NGO had suspended its funding of UAWC following
the Law Center’s letter, but that after conducting an investigation into the
allegations it has now decided to resume its support.
“It has been found
that the claims are unfounded and there is no impediment to WVA resuming its
partnership with UAWC. UAWC is a nonprofit company that is registered with the
Israeli Ministry of Justice,” Adams said.
World Vision said it had
emailed the Law Center on February 29, requesting further information to back up
the claims made in the warning letter, but that it had not received a
“As of Wednesday, March 7, World Vision will recommence
activities under the AMENCA project. This project is contributing to the
improvement of the lives of more than 1,970 households, including 7,880 children
in north and south Gaza through agricultural and economic development,” Adams
said. “As a child-focused organization, World Vision is committed to serving the
world’s most vulnerable children, including these children in
Later on Thursday, Darshan-Leitner said the organization was
“shocked that World Vision would announce it is resuming funding to the
terroristaffiliated AUWC in Hamas-controlled Gaza without having done any
serious investigation into our allegations.”
Darshan-Leitner said World
Vision appeared unaware that USAID, the American government’s program for
administering foreign aid, had identified the UAWC as being affiliated with the
“World Vision has now been placed on notice and the next time, God
forbid, their is a terror attack perpetrated anywhere in the world by the PFLP,
World Vision and its individual leaders will be hit with a multi-million dollar
lawsuit for aiding and abetting Palestinian terrorism,” Darshan-Leitner
“They are simply playing roulette with innocent Jewish lives,” she
The Law Center said Hamilton had written to World Vision and
AUSAID, citing the Freedom of Information Act and demanding that the
organizations hand over details of their investigation into UAWC.
letter, Hamilton asks that World Vision provide all documentation received from
World Vision regarding the investigation, together with details of public
registers consulted over the matter.
Hamilton also asked World Vision to
provide information about its funding of UAWC, including reporting on the
Palestinian agronomists affiliated with the PFLP
established the UAWC in 1986, in response to the formation of the
Fatah-affiliated agricultural relief committee Technical Center for Agricultural
Services. While both relief committees declared themselves to be interested only
in agricultural development, both later admitted being political and
A search by The Jerusalem Post revealed that the PLFP’s
Arabic language website includes detailed reports on the UAWC’s work, the most
recent of which is dated February 2.
At an official UAWC conference in
Ramallah last year, PFLP spokesman Ali Jaradat joined representatives from Fatah
and other Palestinian groups in saying that “Palestinian land [is] under fierce
attack from the Israeli occupation,” Ma’an News’ Arabic-language site
The PLFP also vocally supported a UAWC protest outside the UN
headquarters in Gaza City last year, in response to the UN’s Palmer Report into
the blockade of Gaza, with PFLP central committee member Imad Abu Rahma dubbing
the blockade an “international crime,” according the PFLP’s Arabic-language