Middle East

Israel case for outlawing six Palestinian human rights groups is weak say European diplomats

Israel’s desperate bid to get European countries to back its designation of six Palestinian human rights groups as terrorist organisations has been struck a blow. European diplomats have said that the evidence submitted by the Apartheid State “doesn’t meet the required threshold of proof”.

Israel has not provided European countries with sufficient evidence about the six civil society organisations in the West Bank it accused of funding and acting on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, European diplomats told Haaretz. European Commission’s Anti-Fraud Office, OLAF, is not expected to open an investigation into the organisations after its initial examination.

Representatives from six countries told Haaretz that Israel gave them materials meant to prove its claims against the organisations via diplomatic and intelligence channels. “It’s simple, we were given evidence, and we did not find it to be compelling enough,” one diplomat said. Another said that officials in most of these states believe the evidence submitted by Israel “does not meet the required threshold of proof of the transfer of funds.”

In October, Israeli Defence Minister, Benny Gantz, declared six prominent Palestinian human rights groups terrorist organisations. Addameer, Al-Haq, Defence for Children Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Busan Centre for Research and Development and the Union of Palestinian Women Committees, became proscribed groups.

Support for the six groups has come from all over the world, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Israeli group B’Tselem – which called the move “an act characteristic of totalitarian regimes”.

READ: Palestinians angry due to Israel’s escalation, political vacuum, double standards

While the European Union (EU), the UK and the US refused to condemn the ban of Palestinian human rights groups, Israel’s claims about them has generally been met with scepticism. UN human rights experts slammed the move describing it as an “apparent misuse of anti-terrorism legislation”.

Israelis Against Apartheid joined the near-universal condemnation of the Occupation State’s labelling of the six organisations as terrorist groups. In its solidarity with the Palestinians, the Jewish Israeli group, which has over a thousand signatories, slammed the decision in an open letter and urged people to join the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement to end Israel’s brutal apartheid regime.

In early May, Meryame Kitir, Belgian Minister of Development Cooperation and Urban Policy, said to Parliament that Brussels had examined the issue and found no evidence confirming the claims about organisations that Belgium supports and no reason to take action against them.

Denmark said it had not received evidence to support Israel’s claims, and Haaretz was able to confirm that Copenhagen had not changed its position since then. The Foreign Minister of the Netherlands met recently in Ramallah with representatives of Al-Haq, and was later quoted in the Jerusalem Post as saying there was not a single European state that reached the conclusions that Israel did about the organisation.

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