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Israel officials head to US to show evidence to ban 6 Palestinian NGOs

Israeli forces in Hebron, West Bank on 22 September 2021 [Mamoun Wazwaz/Anadolu Agency]
Israeli forces in Hebron, West Bank on 22 September 2021 [Mamoun Wazwaz/Anadolu Agency]

Representatives from the Shin Bet security service and the Israeli Foreign Ministry will be sent to the United States to present evidence, including footage and receipts, that prove six Palestinian human rights organisations which Israel has banned have links to terror groups.

According to a senior Israeli defence official, the intel "is unambiguous and cast in concrete. It proves a direct link between the organisations and their associates to the terror organisation, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine," the official said.

The designated groups include Al-Haq, a human rights group founded in 1979, the Addameer rights group, Defence for Children International-Palestine, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, the Union of Palestinian Women's Committees and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees.

The groups document human rights violations by Israeli occupation forces and authorities and the Palestinian Authority (PA) against Palestinians. The move was condemned as an "unhinged assault" on Palestinian civil society.

"This fallacious and libellous slander is a strategic assault on Palestinian civil society and the Palestinian people's fundamental right to oppose Israel's illegal occupation and expose its continuing crimes," the PA said.

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Additionally, in a joint statement, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch noted that the military order "effectively outlaws" the activities of the six groups.

It warned that the designation gives Israeli security forces the power to close the group's offices, confiscate their property and arrest and imprison their employees. Funding or even public expression of support for their activities is also prohibited.

The UN Human Rights Office in the occupied Palestinian territory said on Saturday the reasons cited by Israel's defence minister were "vague or irrelevant" and denounced his decision as the latest move in a "long-stigmatising campaign" against the organisations.

Moreover, the US Department of State spokesperson Ned Price said his office had not been given advance warning of the designation.

"We will be engaging our Israeli partners for more information regarding the basis for the designation," Price said on Friday

"We believe respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and a strong civil society are critically important to responsible and responsive governance," he added.

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Asia & AmericasIsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestineUS
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