Palestinians reject Israel's designation of Palestinian civil society groups as terrorists

Palestinians rejected on Sunday (October 24) a decision by Israel to designate six Palestinian civil society groups as terrorist organizations, accusing them of funneling donor aid to militants.

The move drew criticism from Palestinians as well as from the United Nations and human rights watchdogs.

Shawan Jabarin, General Director of one of Al-Haq, one of the six groups, questioned the legitimacy of Israeli minister of military affairs Benny Gantz, who announced the decision, adding that it will not affect the works of his organization.

"Who says terrorism and terrorists are the terrorists Gantz, his government and his officers. Therefore, this will not harm us, terrorist can't call people terrorists," Shawan told Reuters TV in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh rejected the Israeli decision which he said was illegal according to international law.

Israel's ministry of military affairs said on Friday (October 22) the groups had ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP), a left-wing faction with an armed wing that has carried out deadly attacks against Israelis.

The groups include Palestinian human rights organizations Addameer and Al-Haq, which document alleged rights violations by both Israel and the Western-backed Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank.

The designations authorize Israeli authorities to close the groups' offices, seize their assets and arrest their staff in the West Bank, watchdogs Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said in a joint statement.

The United Nations Human Rights Office in the Palestinian territories said it was "alarmed" by the announcement.

(Source: Reuters)

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