Europeans in Security Council criticize Israeli blacklist of Palestinian NGOs

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UNITED NATIONS – Five European countries have expressed “grave concern” over Israel’s designation of six Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist groups after a Security Council meeting on Monday and said they would seek more information from Israeli authorities on the reasons for their registration.

The 15-member council took no action after the closed-door consultations. But a statement from Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway and Albania, who will join the board in January, said the registrations “have far-reaching consequences for organizations in terms of political, legal and financial “.

They said they would “carefully study” the information provided by Israel on the basis of the designations.

“A prosperous civil society and respect for fundamental freedoms are the cornerstones of open democracies,” said the statement read by Estonian Ambassador to the UN Sven Jurgenson after the council discussion. “Civil society is an essential contributor to good governance, human rights, international law, democratic values ​​and sustainable development around the world, including in Israel and Palestine.

“It also contributes to peace efforts and to building confidence between Israelis and Palestinians,” the statement said.

Last month, Israel said the six Palestinian human rights organizations were linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a secular left-wing political movement with an armed wing that carried out deadly attacks against Israelis. Israel and Western countries consider the PFLP to be a terrorist organization.

But a confidential Israeli dossier detailing alleged links between Palestinian human rights groups and the PFLP contains little concrete evidence, and it has failed to convince European countries to stop funding the groups.

A meeting of the United Nations Security Council is being held on Thursday, September 23, 2021, during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. (AP / John Minchillo, Pool)

All six groups, some of which have close ties to rights groups in Israel and abroad, deny the claims. They say the terrorist designation is intended to muzzle criticism of Israel’s half-century military occupation of the territories the Palestinians want for their future state.

Designated groups are Al-Haq Human Rights Group, Addameer Rights Group, Defense for Children International-Palestine, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Union of Committees of Palestinian Women and the Union of Agricultural Working Committees.

Riyad Mansour, Palestinian ambassador to the UN, told reporters “it was a good thing” that members of the Security Council “do not buy proof from Israel” that the six Palestinian groups are organizations terrorists – and it was also “a good thing” that Israel failed to “create fear” among council members that the groups are linked to terrorists.

“We welcome the defense of civil society organizations among the Palestinian people,” he said.

Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Karen Riyad Mansour listens to speakers during a meeting on the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, Wednesday, November 20, 2019 at United Nations Headquarters. (AP Photo / Marie Altaffer)

The five European countries also called on the Israeli government to stop construction of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and not to tender for some 4,300 housing units in Israeli settlements.

They highlighted a Security Council resolution adopted in December 2016 that declares settlements illegal under international law and a major obstacle to achieving a two-state solution to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Mansour said opposition to settlements from Europeans and other 15-member council members is “positive” but “not enough” as what is needed is implementation of the resolution. by the Security Council.

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