An Israel-based law center known for taking on anti-terror cases accused British aid group Oxfam of funding a known Palestinian terrorist entity, demanding that Oxfam sever ties.
According to Shurat HaDin, also known as the Israel Law Center, Oxfam “readily acknowledges” that it provides funding for the Union of Health Workers Committee and the Union of Agricultural Workers Committees, which are affiliated with the Gaza-based Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
“The UHWC and the UAWC are the PFLP’s health and agricultural organizations, respectively,” Shurat HaDin wrote. “These organizations were created by the PFLP and they operate under the direct patronage and in close cooperation with the PFLP.”
The PFLP has been designated as a terrorist organization by the EU, UK, US and Australia. The organization was responsible for a number of high-profile attacks on El Al flights, including the 1972 hijacking of an airliner from Lod airport that resulted in the deaths of 28 passengers.
More recently, Israel targeted and killed a member of the PFLP military wing, who the IDF said was responsible for recent rocket fire against Israel. It said he fired the rockets that targeted Israel after the funeral of prime minister Ariel Sharon.
Shurat HaDin says its aim is to “bankrupt terrorism” through the courts, and has been involved in a number of court cases involving alleged terror outfits and groups that funnel money to them.
For its part, Oxfam said that Shurat HaDin was overstating its case and that the allegations had already been investigated.
“We take any such allegations seriously, however these same allegations by the Israel Law Center against UAWC were previously investigated thoroughly by the Australian government’s Federal Police and Security Intelligence Organisation, and were found to be completely unsubstantiated,” Oxfam said in a statement.
“These organizations are well respected and funded by many major international donors. UAWC is legally registered in Israel, and neither are proscribed organizations in any country. Oxfam’s support for UAWC helps small-scale dairy farmers and herders to make a better living, while our work with UHWC helps improve emergency health services for people in Gaza. We do not work with organizations that use or promote violence.”
Shurat HaDin also warned that Oxfam could face future lawsuits from victims of any PFLP attacks and demanded that it sever ties with the PFLP entities.
“Please be advised that providing services to the terrorist instrumentalities UHWC and/or the UAWC is illegal and may have already exposed Oxfam, its global affiliates and its officers to criminal prosecution and civil liability to Israeli, European, American, Australian citizens and others victimised by terrorism sponsored by the PFLP the parent organization of the UHWC and the UAWC.”
Oxfam became embroiled in controversy in January after actress Scarlett Johansson chose to relinquish her role as an ambassador for the organization after it objected to her work as a spokesperson, and her appearance in a Super Bowl commercial, for SodaStream, an Israeli company which has production facilities in the West Bank.