Israel Hasn't Provided Evidence on Labeling of Palestinian NGOs, EU Foreign Minister Says

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The offices of the Palestinian civil society group Addameer in Ramallah, last week.
The offices of the Palestinian civil society group Addameer in Ramallah.Credit: Mohomad Torokman/Reuters

Israel has still not provided evidence that six Palestinian civil society organizations are terrorist entities nearly a month after it declared them as such, the European Union’s foreign policy chief said Wednesday.

The six organizations, which were declared terror groups last month by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, are recipients of EU funding.  The EU is seeking answers but hasn't received convincing evidence, Josep Borrell, the EU representative for foreign affairs, said at a session of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee Meeting, the international donor group for the Palestinian Authority.

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Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and told her that the Palestinian Authority is strongly opposed to Israel's declaration of the groups as terror organizations.

On Tuesday, an Israeli military court refuted a claim by the defense and foreign ministries regarding the connection between a Spanish woman and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which Israel hoped to use as justification for its labeling of the organizations as terrorist groups.

At the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee session, held in Norway, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh harshly criticized Israel’s new government. According to people present at the meeting, he assailed Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's approach to the Palestinian Authority, which he said was expressed in “three nos:” No to talks with the PA, no to meeting with Abbas and no to a two-state solution.

Shtayyeh also assailed the initiative touted by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, consisting of "economic benefits in exchange for security." He said that "if we deal with Gaza separately, we’ll have to deal separately with Hebron, the Jordan Valley and every other place. There needs to be a comprehensive solution."

He said that the PA is in deep crisis, partly because of the coronavirus pandemic. "Independent states could borrow money from the World Bank or print money or raise funds in the private market," he said. "We couldn’t do this since we’re not an independent state."

On Monday, Israel asked the Biden Administration to exert pressure on Arab and European countries to increase financial aid to the Palestinian Authority.

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