Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz declared six Palestinian civil society organizations on Friday, ‘terror organizations.’
“Those organizations were active under the cover of civil society organizations, but in practice belong and constitute an arm of the [PFLP] leadership, the main activity of which is the liberation of Palestine and destruction of Israel,” Gantz’s office said in a statement.
The six organizations included the Palestinian rights organization Al-Haq, Addameer, which represents Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli military courts, Defense for Children-International, a group that advocates for Palestinian children, Union of Palestinian Women Committees, a women’s rights group, Bisan Center for Research and Development, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, an agricultural labor association.
Israel’s Counterterrorism Law of 2016 has given the Israeli authorities, power to close the six civil groups’ offices, seize their assets, arrest, and jail their staff members, and prohibit funding or even publicly expressing support for their activities.
A joint statement by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch called the decision ‘appalling and unjust.’
“This decision is an alarming escalation that threatens to shut down the work of Palestine’s most prominent civil society organizations,” the joint statement read.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said that the decision of Israel “amounts to a serious violation of international law.”
“The targeted institutions operate in accordance with Palestinian law, and work in partnerships with international institutions,” Shtayyeh added.
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