A British charity has caused outrage by awarding £25,000 to a Palestinian NGO with alleged links to terror.
London-based Ockenden International named the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) – a Palestinian NGO designated as a terrorist outfit by Israel last year – as one of four winners of its 2022 prize.
A Dutch government investigation, which began in May 2020 and concluded in January, found that there were “individual links” between the UAWC and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a well-known terrorist group.
Ockenden International, which hands out prizes to support refugee projects, announced the award on its website earlier this month.
A director of advocacy group UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI), Caroline Turner, has written to the trustees of Ockenden International, as well as to all the judges of the competition, demanding the award be withdrawn.
In her letter, Ms Turner said: “We note that one of the 2022 Ockenden Prize winners is the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, a Ramallah-based Palestinian non-profit organisation that was established to improve the performance and professionalism of Palestinian farmers.
“We are extremely concerned that this organisation has been awarded the prize because UAWC was designated by Israel on 19 October 2021 as a terrorist organisation.”
Her letter outlined what were claimed to be several examples of the group’s alleged connections to terrorist activity.
Ms Turner said an Ockenden International representative replied saying the organisation would conduct a “review” before responding more fully within 28 days.
This prompted Ms Turner to send a further letter this week, in which she wrote: “Please could you confirm that while you are ‘reviewing the contents’ of my letters, you will freeze the £25,000 prize money pending the result of your ‘review’, and not send it to UAWC?”
In January this year, the JC reported that Oxfam had finally stopped handing over millions of euros to the UAWC – three years after being warned about the organisation’s alleged terror ties.
Investigators from Proximities Risk Consultancy, which was commissioned by the Dutch government to probe UAWC, said the terrorist connections involved 34 people between 2007 and 2020.
Twenty-eight UAWC board members reportedly had PFLP links, and for a period, 12 of those reportedly had leading positions in the UAWC and the PFLP simultaneously.
No financial flows between the UAWC and the PFLP or any proof of organisational unity between the two groups were found in the Dutch government report, however.
An Ockenden International spokesperson said: “We can confirm that we have received a letter from UKLFI regarding UAWC, which we are considering.”