Netherlands admits to paying terrorists who killed 17-year-old Israeli national
The Netherlands paid part of the salaries of two terrorists involved in killing 17-year-old Rina Shnerb last year, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok and Development Minister Sigrid Kaag admitted to parliament on Tuesday.
The killers are members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a designated terrorist group in the EU, and employees of the Palestinian Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), to which the Dutch representative in Ramallah pledged nearly $20 million in 2013-2021.
Their salaries were paid in part by Dutch funds covering UAWC overhead costs, though they were not directly involved in the land and water management program sponsored by the Netherlands. They also received accreditation, identifying themselves as “employees of a partner organization of the Dutch representation,” in Ramallah a letter from the ministers said. The Netherlands is suspending its donations to UAWC indefinitely, pending an investigation.
“Because careful action is so important in this regard, I have decided to commission external research into any ties between the PFLP and UAWC,” the ministers wrote. “The Cabinet… wants to independently determine whether and how continuation of the contributions is appropriate.”
The ministers’ remarks came in response to a parliamentary question from three right-wing parties. She also claimed that she was not previously aware of UAWC’s ties to terrorist groups, though the Dutch-Israel advocacy organization Center for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI) and UK Lawyers for Israel reached out to the government and lawmakers in the Hague in May 2019 to highlight those connections, based on research by the Israeli think tank NGO Monitor.
The terrorists working for UAWC killed 17-year-old Rina Shnerb on August 23, 2019, in a bombing attack at a spring near Dolev, injuring her father Rabbi Eitan Shnerb and her brother Dvir as well.
Samer Arbid was an accountant for UAWC at the time of his 2019 arrest. In October, he was indicted on 21 counts, as commander of the PFLP terror cell that prepared and detonated the bomb that killed Shnerb.
Abdul Razeq Farraj was UAWC’s Finance and Administration director and was indicted on four counts related to aiding in the bombing.
CIDI said in a statement that “the news that two PFLP terrorists were paid with Dutch tax money, and even carried a pass from the Dutch representative office in Ramallah, is shocking but… it comes as no surprise.
“It is a good step for ministers to admit this now, but concrete measures must be taken to prevent further Palestinian terrorism from being financed with Dutch tax money in the future,” CIDI added.
NGO Monitor expressed hope that the Dutch ministers’ statement “will be followed with serious sanctions as well as a demand for the return of Dutch funds, as well as the installing of safeguards to prevent future misuse of public monies.”