US demands ‘Israel’ explain listing of Palestinian NGOs as terrorist groups

Washington (QNN)- The US State Department has slammed Israel’s decision to designate six Palestinian human rights NGOs as terrorist groups, demanding ‘Israel’ to explain such a move.

“We believe respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, and a strong civil society are critically important for responsible and responsive governance,” said a State Department spokesperson Ned Price during a telephone briefing with reporters on Friday.

He added that the US will “be engaging our Israeli partners for more information regarding the basis for these designations.”

Price also noted that the “Israeli government did not give us advance warning” that the organizations would be named.

On Friday, the Israeli occupation government declared six leading Palestinian NGOs to be affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP): Addameer, Al Haq, Bisan Center, DCI-P, Samidoun and UAWC.

Under Israeli law, membership in terror organizations is punishable by five to seven years in jail, while aiding them is punishable by five years, and praising or promoting them can result in a three-year-long jail sentence.

The Israeli law also permits authorities to confiscate any “terror organization’s” assets and limit its use of space.

The occupation state has targeted civil society dissenters for decades. In the early 2000s however, a series of right-wing organizations, funders and politicians sought to support the Israeli government’s brutal repression of Palestinians by accelerating the attack on civil society dissenters as Israel’s abuses mounted.

In the mid to late aughts, several Israeli human rights organizations came under organized attack, including groups like Btselem, Yesh Din.

In 2019, Israeli authorities expelled Human Rights Watch’s director in Palestine, Omar Shakir, who is an American citizen after revoking his work visa, accusing him of supporting the BDS movement.

Israel’s decision to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist groups has also been met by strong criticism by US congress representatives.

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar said the Israeli decision came only to evade accountability for human rights violations.

Omar called for steps by her country as well as the international community against the occupation state.

Representative Betty McCollum, who has been known for her solidarity and support of Palestinian rights and worked herself with two of the targeted organizations, also condemned the decision, noting that it “is nothing more than an attempt to silence critics of Palestinian rights.”

She added that the decision goes against her country’s values. She also urged the Biden administration to pressure the occupation state to reverse the decision.

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