Australian groups accused of aiding PFLP group (JERUSALEM POST) By JOANNA PARASZCZUK 02/17/12)
JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-Top
The Israel Law Center, a civil rights group, sent legal warnings on
Wednesday to two Australian organizations, World Vision Australia and
AusAID, accusing them of providing financial aid to a Gaza-based
The Palestinian organization, the Union of Agricultural Work
Committees (UAWC), lists World Vision, a Christian relief,
development and advocacy group, and AusAID, the Australian government
agency for managing the country’s overseas aid program, as its
The Israel Law Center said the UAWC, which maintains offices in the
Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, is a front for terror group the Popular
Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The center’s director,
attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, and Australian solicitor Andrew
Hamilton co-signed the warning letters, which ask World Vision and
AusAID to provide written confirmation that they will permanently
discontinue their support for the UAWC.
Darshan-Leitner and Hamilton warned that continuing such support
could expose both groups to criminal prosecution under Australian and
US law, as well as civil liability to victims of PFLP-sponsored
“The Union of Agricultural Work Committees is an integral part of the
proscribed terror organization, the PFLP, that Australian citizens
and corporations are prohibited from providing support to,” said
Hamilton on Wednesday.
“By providing aid to the UAWC, organizations such as World Vision and
AusAID are in fact aiding and abetting Palestinian terrorism, and
thereby violating Australian and United States anti-terrorism laws.”
Palestinian agronomists affiliated with the PFLP established the UAWC
in 1986, in response to the formation of the Fatah-affiliated
agricultural relief committee, the Technical Center for Agricultural
Services. While both relief committees declared themselves to be
interested only in agricultural development, both later admitted
being political and ideological.
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,” Maan News’ Arabiclanguage site reported. 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 Facebook page.
In its letters, the Israel Law Center warned the two organizations
that by providing financial and material support for the UAWC, they
could fall foul of strict antiterror laws.
“The PLFP’s funding is shared and distributed among its family of
institutions, including the UAWC. The PLFP is the controlling hand of
the UAWC and PLFP members form the executive of the organization,”
the center said in the letters.
The Australian government lists the PFLP as a proscribed terrorist
group under the Charter of the United Nations Act 1945, section 21,
which states it is an offense for an individual or a corporate body
to directly or indirectly make an asset available to a proscribed
person or entity.
The PFLP is also officially designated by the US as a “Foreign Terror
Organization” under the Immigration and Nationality Act, and as
a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” under a presidential
“By providing financial aid to the UAWC, World Vision directly or
indirectly makes assets available to the PLFP,” the center
continued. “This is illegal even if the source of this money is an
Australian government aid program as section 23 of the act provides
that it prevails over any other law.”
The center warned that US law is also very strict regarding aiding
and abetting terrorism.
It cites a recent US Supreme Court ruling known as Holder v.
Humanitarian Law Project, which held that providing any assistance or
support to designated terrorist groups is criminal. The court found
that even ostensibly benign support to terrorist groups is criminal,
because that support can be used for nefarious means: “Material
support meant to promote peaceable, lawful conduct can be diverted to
advance terrorism in multiple ways,” the court said in its ruling.
World Vision Australia’s and AusAID’s support for the
UAWC “constitutes the type of seemingly innocuous material that
rendered your organization and you personally criminally and civilly
reliable under Australian and United States law,” the center’s letter
Both World Vision Australia and AusAID did not respond by press time
to requests from the Post to comment on the letter. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 02/17/12)
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