Israel Doubles Down on Notifying U.S. About Terror Labeling of Palestinian NGOs

Foreign Ministry official said that the State Department was informed 'on a few occasions' of the decision to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terror groups, despite previous U.S. claims

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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The offices of the Adameer NGO in Ramallah, on Sunday.
The offices of the Adameer NGO in Ramallah, on Sunday.Credit: Mohamed Torokman/Reuters
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Against the backdrop of the State Department denial, Israel insists that the U.S. was informed of its intention to classify six Palestinian organizations as terrorist groups, a senior Foreign Ministry official said on Tuesday.

Joshua Zarka, the deputy director-general of strategic affairs in the Foreign Ministry, said that during his visit to Washington last week he informed the U.S. of the decision. In an interview on Army Radio, Zarka said that “there was definitely an exchange and discussion on this issue.” 

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Zarka commented on the claim of Ned Price, the State Department spokesperson, that the U.S. was not notified of the move and that officials did not receive prior information on the decision. “It seems he did not receive an update the way he thought he should receive … It can happen between the best of friends ­­­– that we thought our update was in depth enough, especially as it was delivered on a few occasions, while they thought that it needed to be done in a better way,” he said. 

“We want to fix this in order to ensure that such things will not be repeated, because our partnership with the United States is of the utmost importance," Zarka added, "in the end, we're talking about the country that is our main diplomatic supporter,” he added.

Furthermore, Zarka said that this is the reason representatives of the Shin Bet and Foreign Ministry are on their way to Washington, to provide the required intelligence that could prove the relationship between these organizations and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which is classified as a terrorist group. 

On Friday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz signed an order declaring six civil society organizations in the West Bank as terrorist organizations.

Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz in Tel Aviv, in March.Credit: JACK GUEZ / AFP

On Sunday, it was also revealed that the State Prosecutor Amit Aisman approved the Defense Ministry's decision to classify the NGOs as terror organizations after the Shin Bet presented "extensive and convincing" evidence linking them to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, according to a further source.

In addition, a security source in Israel said that there is clear-cut evidence, including footage and receipts, against the six Palestinians NGOs. The official added that Shin Bet and Defense Ministry representatives will fly to Washington to present the "unambiguous" evidence to the Biden administration.

Moreover, the source said that all the government's actions on the matter were coordinated between the Prime Minister's Office, the Justice Ministry and the Defense Ministry.

The six civil society organizations are Addameer, Al-Haq, the Bisan Center, Defense for Children International Palestine, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees.

Earlier Sunday, the Palestinians' UN observer mission asked the Security Council to condemn Israel's designation of the groups as terror organizations, calling it "false and libelous slander."

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