Israel shuts several Palestinian rights groups


Tel Aviv, Aug 19 : Israel has closed several Palestinian advocacy groups after classifying them as terrorist organisations last year, the groups said. On Thursday, Al-Haq, one of the human rights groups affected, said Israeli soldiers searched and sealed their offices on Wednesday night, reports dpa news agency. At least five other Palestinian groups were affected including the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh condemned Israel's action and called the organisations part of the Palestinian national fabric, WAFA news agency reported. "This institution and all the others are registered with the State of Palestine, and therefore are legal institutions that operate within the law," he was quoted as saying by WAFA, calling on the organisations to resume their work despite their closure by the Israeli occupation authorities. Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz classified the non-governmental organisations as terrorist organisations last October. They are accused of financing the militant Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). According to Israel, they have also received large sums of money from European countries, which was used to make payments to the families of Palestinians who have carried out attacks. A spokesperson for the European Commission said on Thursday that the EU was aware of the closure. However, "allegations that EU funds had been misused in connection with certain Palestinian civil society organisations had not been confirmed before". "The EU will continue to stand by international law and support civil society organisations that have a role to play in promoting international law, human rights and democratic values," the spokesperson said. /IANS


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