Netanyahu: I Support the 'Transparency Bill' but Drop the ID Tag Provision

Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, the prime minister expressed hope that EU foreign ministers 'will not continue with the double standard against Israel.'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at the PM's office in Jerusalem, on January 17, 2016.
AFP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his support Sunday for the so-called Transparency Bill, promoted by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, but said that the provision requiring NGO employees visiting the Knesset to wear identifying tags should be removed from the bill.

"It is unnecessary," Netanyahu said. "But, I think that we should demand NGOs report on contributions they receive from foreign nations from the first dollar. That way the law will be comparable to U.S. legislation."

The Ministry of Justice released the following statement in response: "The proposal brought forth by the prime minister that transparency would be imposed on NGOs receiving funding from foreign nations from the first shekel in exchange for dropping the provision requiring the wearing of identifying tags will be looked into positively by the minister of justice."

The bill would require non-profits receiving more than half of their funding from foreign governments to officially note it in their official publications. In practice, the legislation would affect left-wing organizations almost exclusively.

Turning to the upcoming meeting of EU foreign ministers Monday, which will further escalate the EU's distinction between Israel proper and its settlements, Netanyahu said "I hope that the EU foreign ministers' discussions will not continue with the double standard against Israel." The prime minister added that "The attacks on Israel will not help the EU become a party to discussions in the Middle East. It is unjust and we will not accept it."

During the monthly meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels Monday, a decision is expected on its next steps on the Israel-Palestinian issue, but it is still not clear how harsh it will be. A number of EU nations, headed by France, have been considering the possibility of passing a resolution against the settlements in the United Nations Security Council.

In November 2014, Haaretz revealed an internal EU document that included a list of sanctions against Israel related to construction in the settlements. The document included a number of proposals, such as steps against European companies that operate in the settlements, and preventing the entry into the EU of settlers who committed violent acts against Palestinians.