Israel names Palestinian civil society groups terrorists, UN “alarmed” – .

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Israel names Palestinian civil society groups terrorists, UN “alarmed” – .


A girl wearing a protective mask and headband of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) looks on during a rally to show solidarity with the hunger strike Palestinian prisoner Maher Al-Akhras, held by Israel, in the Gaza City October 12, 2020. REUTERS / Mohammed Salem

  • Palestinians and rights watchdogs reject designations
  • Israel accuses groups of funneling aid to militants

TEL AVIV, Oct. 22 (Reuters) – Israel on Friday named six Palestinian civil society groups as terrorist organizations and accused them of channeling donor aid to activists, a move that has drawn criticism from the United Nations and human rights monitoring bodies.

Israel’s defense ministry said the groups had ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP), a left-wing faction with an armed wing that carried out deadly attacks against Israelis.

The groups include Palestinian human rights organizations Addameer and Al-Haq, which document alleged rights violations by Israel and the West-backed Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank.

“(The) reported organizations received large sums of money from European countries and international organizations, using various forgeries and deceptions,” the Defense Ministry said, alleging that the money had supported the activities of the PFLP.

The designations allow the Israeli authorities to close the groups’ offices, seize their property and arrest their staff in the West Bank, monitoring bodies Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said in a joint statement.

Addameer and another of the groups, Defense for Children International – Palestine, dismissed the charges as an “attempt to eliminate Palestinian civil society”.

The United Nations Human Rights Office in the Palestinian Territories said it was “alarmed” by the announcement.

“Counterterrorism legislation should not be used to restrict legitimate human rights and humanitarian work,” he said, adding that some of the reasons given seemed vague or irrelevant.

“These designations are the latest development in a long campaign of stigmatization against these organizations and others, hampering their ability to do their crucial work,” he said.

Israel’s ally, the United States, was not given advance notice of the move and would engage Israel for further information on the basis of the designations, the department spokesman told reporters. of State, Ned Price.

“We believe that respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and a strong civil society are of crucial importance for responsible and responsive governance,” he said.

But Israel’s defense ministry said: “These organizations present themselves as acting for humanitarian purposes; however, they serve as a cover for the promotion and financing of the “Popular Front” ”.

A PFLP official, who is on the US and EU terrorism blacklists, did not categorically reject ties to the six groups, but said they maintained relations with terrorist organizations. civil society in the West Bank and Gaza.

“This is part of the fierce battle that Israel is launching against the Palestinian people and against civil society groups, in order to exhaust them,” said Kayed Al-Ghoul, head of the PFLP.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said that “the decision is an alarming escalation that threatens to put an end to the work of the most important civil society organizations in Palestine.”

Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in the Middle East War of 1967. The Palestinians are seeking the territories for a future state.

Report by Rami Ayyub in Tel Aviv; Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Stephen Farrell in Jerusalem; Editing by William Maclean and Mark Porter

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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