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Citibank, Arab Bank stop money transfers to Palestine NGO after pressure from Israel lobby

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UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) announced on Tuesday that their group had succeeded in stopping Citibank and the Arab Bank from allowing donations to be transferred to the NGO Defence for Children International Palestine (DCI-P).

UKLFI hailed the move, claiming that DCI-P had some members who were also connected with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a leading member of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, considered a terror organisation by Israel.

“UKLFI wrote to Citibank and to Arab Bank in May 2018, highlighting DCI-P’s links to the terrorist groups, and requested that Citibank and Arab Bank withdraw their banking services to DCI-P. Now these banks no longer provide banking services to the terror linked NGO,” UKLFI said in a statement.

DCI-P is an NGO that provides free legal aid for Palestinian children arrested by the occupation and documents Israeli human rights violations in the occupied territories. Established over 20 years ago, the organisation holds consultative status on the United Nations Economic and Social Council, UNICEF, UNESCO and the Council of Europe.

The group is also a long standing member of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, a non-violent means of protest against the occupation, which Israel has deemed anti-Semitic, despite the movement’s sole focus on Israel’s human rights violations.

Read: Palestinian youth goes blind while in Israeli custody

This is not the first time that organisations outside of Israel have withdrawn support from infrastructure projects in the occupied territories, alleging that Palestinian institutions support terrorism.

In November last year, the Belgian Foreign Ministry announced that it had suspended funding for a Palestinian school in the occupied West Bank after it changed its name to honour a Palestinian resistance fighter.

In August, Switzerland revealed that it had stopped funding a Palestinian NGO after it emerged that the organisation had provided funds to the Women’s Affairs Technical Committee, a group that endorses the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, and had also named a youth centre after resistance fighter Dalal Mughrabi.

Israeli lobby groups have often been behind such action, after convincing policymakers and businesses that any attempts at Palestinian resistance, including support of the non-violent BDS movement, equates to terrorism. In May 2017, Israel pressured the Danish government into suspending support and funding to groups that advocated for a boycott of Israeli goods.

The Israeli government has also repeatedly claimed that independent organisations and the Palestinian Authority providing crucial subsidies to the families of those impacted by the occupation, are rewarding “terrorists”. Palestinian officials have said the payments support relatives “who lost their breadwinners to the atrocities of the occupation, the vast majority of whom are unduly arrested or killed by Israel”.

Read: Israel committee passes bill to deduct tax funds from PA

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