Israel has designated six major Palestinian rights groups as terrorist organisations, in a major escalation that international watchers have labeled “totalitarian” and “an unprecedented attack” on the global rights movement.
The decision, announced Friday by Israel’s Defense Ministry, could see the organizations closing their offices, confiscation of their assets and arrests of their staff members. Public expressions of support for groups can also be criminalized.
The ministry accused Six of having links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP), a left-wing Palestinian secular movement with an armed wing that has carried out deadly attacks against Israel and is designated as a terrorist group by Israel. has been done. many western countries.
The six targeted Palestinian groups strongly denied the allegations, saying the move was an attempt to “dismantle Palestinian civil society”.
International rights groups also rejected the allegations, saying it was part of Israel to “systematically” “muzzle” human rights monitoring and punish “those who criticize its repressive regime on Palestinians”. .
Meanwhile, Israeli rights groups including B’Salem said the designation was “a feature of the totalitarian regime” and “a continuation of the violent apartheid regime”.
The Israeli Defense Ministry accused the six groups of secretly creating “a network of organizations operating undercover” that they believe funnel money to the PFLP.
The Defense Ministry alleged, “The declared organizations received large sums of money from European countries and international organizations using various forms of forgery and deceit.”
The Defense Ministry also claimed that the organization is “controlled by senior leaders” of the PFLP and employs its members, including some who have “participated in terrorist activities.”
Six affected by the designation are some of the most prominent Palestinian organizations, including Al-Haq and Admir, which document alleged rights violations by both Israel and the Western-backed Palestinian Authority.
Al-Haq did not immediately provide comment. Addameer and one of the named groups, the Defense for Children International – Palestine, dismissed Israel’s allegations as “an attempt to dismantle Palestinian civil society”.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty issued a joint statement saying the move was due to the failure of the international community to “gravely challenge Israel’s human rights abuses”.
“The decades-long failure of the international community to challenge serious Israeli human rights abuses and impose meaningful consequences for them has encouraged the Israeli authorities to act in this brazen manner.”
Adlah, a Palestinian-run legal center in Israel, said it was “unprecedented” and an action that was “friendly to totalitarian and colonial regimes”.
“This puts thousands of Palestinians in direct and immediate danger.”
Israel has long accused human rights groups and international bodies of being biased against it and isolating the country while ignoring more serious violations by other countries. But Friday’s ruling marks a serious tension against the Palestinians.
The EU delegation to the Palestinian territories acknowledged financing activities by some groups. It said previous allegations of misappropriation of EU funds by the partners “have not been confirmed” but that it takes the matter seriously and is looking into it.
“EU funding to Palestinian civil society organizations is an important element of our support for the two-state solution,” it said.
The Palestinian Authority condemned what it said was “a strategic attack on Palestinian civil society and the fundamental right of the Palestinian people to oppose the illegal occupation of Israel and expose its continuing crimes”.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /