US President Joe Biden’s Administration expressed concerns on Wednesday over a new Israeli bill that would significantly limit the ability of human rights organizations to operate in Israel and the occupied West Bank, Israeli media reported.
According to the Israeli newspaper The Times of Israel, “the legislation, drafted by Likud MK Ariel Kallner, was slated to be brought before the Knesset’s high-level Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday.”
The bill states that nonprofit organizations receiving donations from a foreign government would no longer be eligible for tax exemptions. Therefore, the new legislation would impose a 65% income tax on these groups. If adopted, the new tax will have a serious impact on their ability to operate.
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Some of Israel’s most prominent and best-known rights organizations, including Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, Peace Now, and Yesh Din, rely on foreign funding from the European Union and the United States.
US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Wednesday that the US “supports the central role of NGOs as part of civil society,” which are “critical to democratic and responsive transparent government.”
According to The Middle East Monitor, “the bill fulfills one of the promises made to the far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit party by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as part of their coalition agreement at the end of last year.”
(The Palestine Chronicle)
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