Israel shuts down designated terrorist rights groups

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Israel has raided the offices of several Palestinian activist groups it has designated as terrorist organizations, sealing the gates and posting signs declaring them closed, the groups said Thursday.

Israel has claimed that some of those groups had ties to the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a secular, leftist movement that has a political party and an armed wing that has carried out deadly attacks against Israelis. The organizations reject this accusation.

Shawan Jabarin, director of al-Haq, one of the affected groups, confirmed that the forces had raided the office but said they had not yet determined whether any documents had been seized.

“They came in, blew the door open, came in and rummaged through the files,” he told The Associated Press.

The office of the Israeli Minister of Defense, Benny Gantz, reiterated the government’s position on the issue the previous day and assured that “the organizations operate under the guise of carrying out humanitarian activities to advance the objectives of the PFLP terrorist organization to strengthen the organization and recruit members.

Rights advocates described the Israeli campaign against these organizations as part of a decades-long crackdown on political activism in the occupied territories.

“These accusations are not new and Israel failed to convince even its friends,” Jabarin said.

Most of the affected organizations documented human rights violations committed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Both routinely detain Palestinian activists.

The affected groups reportedly included Al-Haq, a veteran internationally recognized Palestinian rights group that defends Palestinian prisoners, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and the Bidan Center for Research and Development. .

Jabarin said that “neighbors and strangers” who were nearby during the raid on the games opened the office in Ramallah as soon as the Israeli forces left, and that Al-Haq staff were inside resuming their work.

“We do not ask any Israeli military or politician for permission. We move forward, buoyed by our belief in responsibility and international law,” he said.

Thursday’s raids came seven months after Israel outlawed Al-Haq, Addameer, Bisan and other organizations.

Israel and Western countries consider the PFLP a terrorist organization.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement last year that some of the then-outlawed groups were “controlled by leaders” of the PFLP and employed its members, including some who had “engaged in terrorist activity.”

The Ministry claimed that the organizations served as a “central source” of funding for the PFLP and had received “large sums of money from European countries and international organizations,” without elaborating.

Israel has long accused human rights groups and international organizations of being biased against it and pointing fingers at its actions while ignoring more serious infractions by other countries.

Also on Thursday, the Israeli army said Palestinian gunmen had shot at soldiers in a military operation in the West Bank city of Nablus and that the soldiers had returned fire. The army was referring to an early-morning incident in which an 18-year-old Palestinian, Waseem Khalifa, was killed.

Israel conducts almost daily arrest raids in the West Bank against what it describes as militant networks after a series of deadly attacks in Israel in the spring. The raids often trigger clashes with stone-throwing Palestinians or exchanges of fire with militants.


Akram reported from Gaza City.

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