On Oct. 22, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Ganz announced that six Palestinian civil society groups (some of them with significant backing from the European Union) have been designated as terror organizations, asserting that they worked on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, surrounded by dictatorships like Cuba, Venezuela, Libya, Somalia and many others among the 47 members of the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC), has again criticized and challenged the Israeli government.
Michelle Bachelet said that Israel’s blacklisting of six Palestinian organizations for their alleged ties to the PFLP terror group is an attack on human rights defenders, on freedom of association, opinion, and expression and on the right to public participation, and she called for the move to be immediately revoked.
The list of organizations: Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees; ADDAMEER—Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association; Bisan Center for Research and Development; Al-Haq Organization; Defense for Children International—Palestine; and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees.
Bachelet said that these organizations are not terrorists, but defenders of Palestinian human rights, mainly of those who are in jail. But she did not say that most of those who are in jail have murdered Israeli civilians. On the contrary, she urged the Israeli government to prove the accusation. The Israeli government responded that there is ample proof of the connection of the organizations with the PFLP.
In 2019, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs published a report about several Palestinian organizations using the nongovernmental organization (NGO) label but in fact laundering money and recruiting young people for the PFLP, which has been designated as a terrorist group by many Western countries. According to the report, the Palestinian organizations have received 200 million dollars from the EU between 2014 and 2021. Why there has not been any investigation, or at least some serious checking, into where the money goes is a remaining unanswered question.
One of the six organizations, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, has a name that invites people to believe in serious civil work and assistance. Two main members of this “NGO,” Summer Arabid and Abd a-Razak Farage, are members of the PFLP. They have been identified and accused of being part of a terrorist attack that killed Rina Shnerb, 17 years old, in August 2019, while she was walking with her father along an Israeli road on their way to enjoy hiking.
ADDAMEER, another organization of the six named as terrorists by Israel, is linked with issues concerning terrorists in jail in Israel. Khalida Jarrar, the former President of ADDAMEER, is an active member of the PFLP.
Al-Haq says it is a defender of human rights. Ganz was very clear: the whole board of Al-Haq are members of the PFLP and all of them have taken part of terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians.
An NGO must prove that its work really is the work of an NGO work. It is not a title—there must be facts on the ground. But if it receives funds and it is not held accountable, if the dictatorships that are members of the UNHRC support them unequivocally, if the High Commissioner shows trust to these organizations and publicly dismisses what a democratic state like Israel says, and—last but not least—if the main target of the UNHRC is to attack Israel and delegitimize its right to defend itself, the whole panorama is dark and very dangerous.
The Israeli Government is taking the necessary steps to defend its citizens from ongoing terrorism. It is unacceptable that the permanent denial of Israeli rights come out in an outrageous litany from the UNHRC. And it is also outrageous that real democracies accept sitting together with cruel dictatorships. This acceptance is destroying the credibility that still may remain.
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