Outcry As Israel Labels Palestinian Rights Groups ‘Terrorists’
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Israel on Friday issued a fresh military order which has now designated no fewer than six prominent Palestinian human rights groups as ‘terrorist organisations’, in a move that has been promptly condemned by the Palestinian Authority, rights groups, and the United Nations.

Speaking on Friday, the Israeli Ministry of Defence claimed that the labeled groups were linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a left-wing movement with a political party, as well as a militia group that has continued to carry out deadly attacks against Israeli citizens.

The ministry asserted that the humanitarian groups ‘constitute a network of organisations active undercover on the international front on behalf of the Popular Front.’ They are ‘controlled by senior leaders’ of the PFLP and enrol its members, including some who had ‘participated in terror activity’, it said.

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The ministry also accused the groups of serving as a ‘central source’ of financing for the PFLP and of having received ‘large sums of money from European countries and international organisations,’ without providing explanations.

Africa Today News, New York gathered that the labelled 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 PA condemned what it said was 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,’ it said.

Speaking on Friday, the US Department of State spokesperson Ned Price disclosed that 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 while briefing reporters in Washington.

In a joint statement, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch noted that the military order ‘effectively outlaws’ the activities of the six groups.

As a consequence, Israeli security forces are authorised to close the groups’ offices, seize their assets and arrest and jail their staff members. Funding or even publicly expressing support for their activities is also prohibited.

‘This appalling and unjust decision is an attack by the Israeli government on the international human rights movement, Amnesty and HRW submitted.

AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK