Nine European countries expressed their refusal to stop cooperating with six Palestinian NGOs that the Israeli occupation designated as terrorist organisations in October, due to the lack of evidence proving the claim.
In a joint statement, the spokespersons of the foreign ministries of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden said: "Accusations of terrorism or links to terrorist groups must always be treated with the utmost seriousness. The designations needed therefore to be assessed carefully and extensively."
The countries noted in their statement that they did not receive substantial information from the Israeli occupation authorities justifying reviewing the countries' policies towards the six Palestinian NGOs based on the Israeli decision to designate these NGOs as terrorist organisations.
"Should evidence be made available to the contrary, we would act accordingly. In the absence of such evidence, we will continue our cooperation and strong support for the civil society" in the West Bank and Gaza. The statement also added: "A free and strong civil society is indispensable for promoting democratic values and for the two-state solution."
On 22 October the Israeli occupation government labelled six Palestinian non-governmental organisations working in the field of defending human rights and prisoners as terrorist bodies, claiming that they are linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), while the Palestinian Authority and international organisations, including the UN, criticised the decision. Israel did not provide evidence for its claims.
READ: Israel's 'terrorism' smear dismissed as EU resumes funding for Palestinian NGO