Attorneys at the civil rights group the Israel Law Center (Shurat HaDin)
announced this week that they had “conclusive evidence” to show that a
Gaza-based organization supported by two Australian groups was linked to the
terror group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
The Law Center said World Vision Australia, a Christian
child-advocacy group, and Australian government agency AusAID are breaking
Australian and US laws by funding the Union of Agricultural Work Committees
(UAWC), which has offices in Gaza City in the Hamas-controlled Gaza
Attorney and Israel Law Center director Nitsana Darshan- Leitner
and Australian solicitor Andrew Hamilton said they had compiled a dossier of
evidence that implicated the UAWC as an arm of the PFLP, including proof that
several members of the UAWC’s board of directors had close PFLP ties.
announcement came after World Vision Australia said earlier this month that it
had resumed its funding to UAWC, following a legal warning from the Israel Law
Center in February.
The Israel Law Center sent legal warnings to both
World Vision Australia and AusAID after the UAWC listed both groups as its
supporters. The letters said that by supporting UAWC, World Vision Australia was
“aiding and abetting Palestinian terrorism, and thereby violating Australian and
United States anti-terrorism laws.”
Initially both groups announced they
had suspended their funding to the UAWC, but weeks later said they had resumed
it after carrying out an investigation.
A World Vision Australia
spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post earlier this month that its investigation
had found that the Israel Law Center’s claims were “unfounded.”
no impediment to WVA resuming its partnership with UAWC. UAWC is a nonprofit
company that is registered with the Israeli Justice Ministry,” the spokeswoman
said, adding that her organization’s support for the AMENCA project helps over
7,000 children in Gaza.
However, Darshan-Leitner said Monday that the Law
Center found it “unbelievable” that World Vision Australia and AusAID were
“unaware that the leadership of the UAWC were senior officials of the terrorist
The Law Center said that UAWC board president Bashir
al-Khairi is a well-known and senior member of the PFLP and heads the terror
group’s political office in Ramallah.
According to the Law Center,
Khairi, a lawyer, was still actively representing the PFLP as recently as
The UAWC board vice president, Jamil Muhammad Ismail
al-Majdalawi, known as Jamil Ismail, is also a well-known PFLP member, the Law
Center said, and heads the PFLP political office in Gaza as well as representing
the terror group on the PLO’s central committee.
The Law Center also
pointed to three other UAWC directors – Ramallah-based Razeq al-Barghouti, and
Gazans Taghreed Jom’a and Faysal Khalafallah – who it says are also members of
The UAWC also makes its own assets directly available for the
PFLP to use, the Law Center said, noting that the PFLP celebrated its 42nd
anniversary at the UAWC’s hall in Khan Yunis in 2009.
secretary-general Abdel Rahim Malouh was a VIP guest at the UAWC’s June 1, 2010,
political protest, dubbed “Immortal Land Day,” the Law Center noted. It also
noted apparent connections between the PFLP and the UAWC that the Post revealed
as well in its own search of the former group’s Arabic language website, which
includes detailed reports on the UAWC’s work, the most recent of which is dated
The Israel Law Center has warned that by funding the UAWC,
World Vision Australia and AusAID could be liable for lawsuits because of the
group’s PFLP links.
Under Australia’s Charter of the United Nations Act
1945, it is a strict liability offense for an individual or corporation to make
an asset available directly or indirectly to a proscribed person or entity,
including the PFLP.
The Israel Law Center said World Vision and AusAID
may have violated that law, and called on the Australian Federal police to open
an investigation on the matter.
The Sydney-based Hamilton said on Monday
that the two Australian groups had exposed themselves and their staff to
“millions in fines and potential jail terms.”
“They have added insult to
injury by grossly misusing Australian taxpayers’ money and then misleading the
Australian people by conducting an extremely superficial investigation while
publicly claiming it was extensive and the allegations unfounded,” he added.