Germany is “very concerned” over Israel’s decision to list six Palestinian civil society groups as terror organizations, a government spokesperson said on Wednesday, Anadolu News Agency reports.
“We have, of course, taken note of the reports and are in talks with our Israeli partners. From the perspective of the Federal Government, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the ability of a strong civil society to act are decisive,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Andrea Sasse, said at a weekly government press conference in Berlin.
“This is what we advocate for our partners, of course, also in the Near and Middle East. So we are very concerned about this Israeli decision,” she added.
Sasse urged Israel to provide more information regarding the basis for the designation.
“The listing of complete organizations as terrorist entities is a step of far-reaching political, legal and financial importance for the organizations themselves, as well as for their civil society environment. We, therefore, now expect further insights from the Israeli side,” she said.
Tel Aviv’s move also sparked criticism by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, who called the terror listing of the Palestinian NGOs an attack on human rights defenders, freedom of association and the right to public participation, saying the decision should be immediately revoked.
Bachelet said the organizations are some of the “most reputable human rights and humanitarian groups in the occupied Palestinian territory” that have worked closely with the UN for decades.
“Claiming rights before a UN or other international body is not an act of terrorism, advocating for the rights of women in the occupied Palestinian territory is not terrorism and providing legal aid to detained Palestinians is not terrorism,” Bachelet said in a statement.
The six groups Israel designated as terrorist organizations are Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Bisan Centre for Research and Development, Al-Haq, Defense for Children International—Palestine and Union of Agricultural Work Committees.
Israel alleges the targeted groups are directly linked, or affiliated with, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which the Jewish state views as a terror group.