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Israel approves law restricting human rights groups

Israeli forces arresting Palestinian youth.
Israeli forces arresting Palestinian youth [File photo]

Israel approved a controversial bill on Monday restricting the work of Israeli human rights groups which advocate for the rights of Palestinians and expose Israeli crimes against them, Quds Press reported.

Proposed by Justice Minister Eyelet Shaked, the bill stipulates that all Israeli NGOs which receive more than half of their funding from overseas have to inform Israeli authorities about this.

The law, which was dubbed the “Transparency Bill”, passed the second and third readings by a 57-48 majority.

According to the Israeli news website Ynet News, there are more than 30,000 NGOs registered in Israel, about half of them active.

Around 70 of these deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and receive funds either from the EU as a whole, or individual governments.

“I expect countries [to] … try to influence Israel in a diplomatic path and not by funding millions of dollars or euros to NGOs that usually try to promote their views,” Shaked told Reuters on Monday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly supported the legislation, describing it as “democratic and necessary”.

Opposition MK Nachman Shai of the Zionist Union party said: “We will pay for this damage for many generations.”

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