Israel yet to back up ‘terrorist’ labels for Palestinian NGOs, Irish FM says

Israel yet to back up ‘terrorist’ labels for Palestinian NGOs, Irish FM says
Israel has not provided credible evidence that supports their designation of six Palestinian NGOs as 'terrorist' entities, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has said
2 min read
03 November, 2021
Simon Coveney will meet with Yair Lapid on Wednesday [Getty]

No credible evidence has been provided to Ireland or the European Union to support Israel’s decision to brand six Palestinian NGO’s as terrorist organisations, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has said.

Coveney made the revelation ahead of a meeting with Israel’s President Isaac Herzog, where the controversial designation is expected to be high on the agenda.

“We have asked for, as has the EU, the evidence basis for designating those NGOs,” he told The Jerusalem Post

“We have not gotten any credible evidence to link the NGOs to terrorism, certainly not that I have seen.”

Israel sparked anger when it declared that six groups, including Defence for Children International - Palestine, detainee rights organisation Addameer and the Union of Palestinian Women's Committees, were “terrorist” entities. 

These organisations now face the prospect of having their workplaces closed down, and their employees are at risk of being detained.

Ireland provides funding to both Addameer and Al-Haq, which Coveney said had been inspected by the Irish government. 

“We have very robust systems of knowing where our money is spent and how it is spent,” Coveney said. 

He was careful not to accuse Israel of wrongdoing, but firmly requested evidence that supported the claims made. 

“Two organisations that we provide modest funding to and who are representing people predominantly in occupied territory in the West Bank have been now designated as effectively supporting terrorist organisations, and we would like to see the evidence base for that,” he said.

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“We fund lots of NGOs who are very critical of me and are very critical of the Irish government. That is what NGOs do. They shake things up. They ask hard questions. They lobby on certain issues and they often protect minorities and people who can’t protect themselves,” he added.

Coveney is expected to raise the designation with Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid when they meet on Wednesday.

He will also seek answers regarding Israel’s recent announcement that it is advancing plans to construct 3,130 illegal settler homes on occupied lands. 

The European Union's foreign affairs and security chief Josep Borrell has also called on Israel to provide more information on the designations.

“The European Union has never funded terrorist organisations, and that all previous allegations of misuse of European Union funds by Palestinian groups have not been confirmed,” he said.