Hamas agent met Dutch officials at event organized by aid group

Aid group funded by Dutch gov't brought alleged Hamas terrorist to event which included gov't officials.

JTA ,

Flag of the Netherlands
Flag of the Netherlands
iStock

JTA - An alleged agent of the Hamas terrorist group said he attended a meeting that was co-organized by the Dutch branch of the Oxfam aid group and attended by government officials.

Abu Amin Rashed, an Arab-Dutch activist whom German, Dutch and Israeli officials said is a fundraiser for Hamas in Europe, wrote about the meeting Monday on Facebook.

“Workshop in The Hague devoted to Gaza/Palestine,” Rashed wrote on Facebook with a picture from the event. “The co-founder of the workshop was the foundation Novib with a remarkable presence of European and Dutch government delegates.”

Rashed has denied claims he works for Hamas. But his involvement at an event organized by Oxfam-Novib raises concerns about the group’s use of money that the Dutch government gives it annually, a Dutch lawmaker suggested following media coverage of Rashed’s post.

Bente Becker, a former speech writer for Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the current spokesperson on international aid for their People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, on Monday submitted a series of critical questions about the event to Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag.

“Can you clarify who initiated this activity? Did Oxfam-Novib invite Mr. Rashed, or is Oxfam-Novib involved in the activity featuring Mr. Rashed?” Becker wrote to Kaag.

A former worker for the UNRWA agency for aid to Palestinians, Kaag is also the wife of a former Palestinian Authority diplomat. She has two weeks to reply to Becker’s query. Kaag is a member of the left-leaning D66 party, which is a junior coalition partner of Becker’s party.

Oxfam-Novib for years has been accused of having an anti-Israel agenda, though the group denies this.

Queried by the De Telegraaf daily about the event, an Oxfam-Novib spokesperson said it was not organized by his organization but by a group called United Civilians for Peace. The spokesperson said his organization has no ties with Hamas.

United Civilians for Peace, or UCP, was set up in 2001 by Oxfam-Novib and two other aid groups. According to a 2007 report by the CIDI watchdog on anti-Semitism in the Netherlands, UCP is not a registered nonprofit but an unofficial workgroup with funding and support by Oxfam-Novib, among other groups. It does not appear in the Dutch register of nonprofit organizations.

More than 70 percent of Oxfam-Novib’s budget of $259,000 for 2014-2015 came from Dutch government grants, the group said in its annual report.

UCP, which says it promotes the two-state solution, sent to Israel and the Palestinian Authority at least one group led by Dries van Agt, a former prime minister of the Netherlands, whom the main umbrella group representing Dutch Jews last year said peddles anti-Semitism. It has also praised the campaign to boycott Israel, while stopping short of joining the movement promoting it.



top