Israel declares six Palestinian human rights groups “terrorists”

Palestinian human rights

The Israeli Defense Ministry on Friday added six prominent Palestinian human rights organisations into their list of terror outfits.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense claimed that the groups were linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a left-wing movement with a political party as well as an armed wing, has carried out deadly attacks against Israel.

The move by the state has been widely condemned by several international human rights groups and the Palestinian Authority.

The labelling will make it more easy for Israel to raid the organizations’ offices, seize assets, arrest staffs and criminalize any public expressions of support.

“For decades, Israeli authorities have systematically sought to muzzle human rights monitoring and punish those who criticize its repressive rule over Palestinians,” Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, who work closely with the outlawed groups said in a joint statement.

“This decision is an alarming escalation that threatens to shut down the work of Palestine’s most prominent civil society organisations”.

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem called the government’s declaration “an act characteristic of totalitarian regimes, with the clear purpose of shutting down these organisations.”

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

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 a telephone briefing with Aljazeera.

The Palestinian Authority condemned what it said was 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.”