CIA says Palestinian NGOs labelled terror groups by Israel 'not guilty of anything'
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was unable to find any evidence to back Israel’s decision to label six prominent Palestinian rights groups as ‘terrorist organisations', according to The Guardian.
Last October, Israel labelled Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al Haq, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defence for Children International–Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and the Union of Palestinian Women Committees as ‘terrorist’ groups, alleging they had links to the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
SCOOP: The Biden administration has not publicly questioned Israel’s designation of six Palestinian NGOs as “terrorist” groups.— Isaac Scher (@isaacscher) August 22, 2022
But in a highly classified assessment of Israeli intelligence, the CIA did not find any evidence to support the designation. https://t.co/YW2EYp7XF0
The classified CIA report failed to find any evidence to support this claim, and said it “doesn’t say that the groups are guilty of anything”, according to a source quoted by The Guardian.
Several countries have rejected Israel’s terrorist designations as unfounded.
Since announcing the designation, Israel has continued harassing the six NGOs in an attempt to stop their work.
On Thursday, Israeli security forces raided the offices of multiple human rights groups in the occupied West Bank. The offices of Al Haq in Ramallah were raided by soldiers, who seized computers and other equipment and welded the office shut for ‘security reasons’.
The raids came after Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz announced that the terrorist designations for three of the NGOs had become law, while the others that sought to challenge the label had had their appeals rejected.
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price confirmed that the US had analysed Israel's evidence against the groups, and said that "we have not followed through with any designations, nor have we changed our approach to these organisations.”
The findings from the CIA report mirror the conclusions of European governments who were also shown the Israeli evidence against the NGOs.
Nine EU member states said in a joint statement last month that "no substantial information was received from Israel that would justify reviewing our policy toward the six Palestinian NGOs.”
The West Bank is only nominally under the control of the Palestinian Authority, and Israeli security forces frequently carry out raids and incursions in the region.