Israeli Officials Head to US to Discuss Banned Palestinian Rights Groups

US State Department’s spokesman Ned Price. (Photo: via Wikimedia Commons)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

A representative from the Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet and another from the Israeli Foreign Ministry will fly to the United States to justify Israel’s decision to ban six Palestinian rights groups, the Times of Israel reported on Sunday, citing a senior Israeli defense official.

The official, The Times of Israel reported, said that “relevant intelligence” was handed to the US, which included “unequivocal evidence” of Israel’s accusations.

On Friday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has de facto outlawed six prominent Palestinian human rights groups, by declaring them to be ‘terrorist organizations’, “secretly linked” to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

The designated groups include Al-Haq, Defense for Children International-Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Addameer, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.

The decision, strongly rejected by the Palestinian rights groups, provoked a public outcry. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch noted in a joint statement that the “appalling and unjust decision is an attack by the Israeli government on the international human rights movement.”

Mary Lawlor, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, decried Isreal’s decision in a tweet on Saturday, labeling the news as ‘disturbing’.

For his part, US State Department’s spokesman, Ned Price, said in a telephone briefing with reporters on Friday that Washington had not been informed of the move and that it will “be engaging our Israeli partners for more information regarding the basis for these designations.” However, according to the Times of Israel, Israeli officials “denied the charge”, claiming that this was only an “internal mishap” within the US State Department.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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