Israel closes Palestinian NGO offices, 'concerned' European countries
The offices of the NGO Women's Union in Ramallah, after the raid by Israeli forces
Nine European countries, including Germany, France and Italy, Friday said they were “deeply concerned” by the Israeli army's closure of the offices of several Palestinian NGOs based in the occupied West Bank and accused of “terrorism” by the Jewish state.
We are deeply concerned by the raids that took place on the morning of August 18, as part of a worrying reduction in the space for civil society in this territory, write in a joint press release. word of the ministries of foreign affairs of these nine countries.
“These actions are not acceptable. »
— Excerpt from the joint communiqué of the nine European countries
In addition to Germany, France and Italy, there are Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Ireland and Denmark.
The Israeli army on Thursday morning carried out searches and closed the offices of seven NGOs in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.
These are six NGOs designated as “terrorists” in 2021 and the organization Health Work Committee also linked according to Israel to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Palestinian movement of Marxist obedience with an armed wing.
A free and strong civil society is essential for promoting democratic values and for a two-state solution, the nine European countries stress. They recall that no substantive information has been received from Israel that would justify the revision of our policy towards the six Palestinian NGOs on the basis of the Israeli decision to designate these NGOs as “terrorist organizations”. ;.
If convincing evidence to the contrary were provided, we would act accordingly, they assure.
The Israeli government had announced in October 2021 list of six Palestinian NGOs linked to the PFLP on its list of terrorist organizations, a decision lambasted by human rights organizations.
These organizations have all denied have links with the PFLP. The United States also expressed its concern on Thursday.