US, EU, UN criticise Israeli closure of six Palestinian NGOs

US, EU, UN criticise Israeli closure of six Palestinian NGOs
The US, UN and EU criticise the forced closure of six Palestinian NGOs after Israel raided their offices in the occupied West Bank
2 min read
19 August, 2022
Israeli forces raided the offices of the NGOs in the West Bank [Getty]

The US, UN and the EU have all criticised Israel's forced closure of six Palestinian NGOs operating in the occupied West Bank.

Offices of the NGOs were raided by Israeli forces on Thursday.

Six of the Palestinian organizations were labeled last October as "terrorist organizations" by Israel for their alleged links to the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), though Israeli officials have not publicly shared any evidence of this.

The NGOs have all denied any links to the PFLP.

"We are concerned about the Israeli security forces' closure of the six offices of the Palestinian NGOs in and around Ramallah today," said US State Department spokesman Ned Price at a press briefing.

"We have not changed our position or approach to these organizations," said Price, though he noted that Washington does not fund any of them.

"We have seen nothing in recent months to change (our position)" he added.

US officials have reached out to their Israeli counterparts "at the senior level" to obtain additional information, which Israel has promised to provide, according to Price.

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'No evidence'

The UN condemned Israel for not providing "compelling evidence" that supports the accusations which led to the designation of the NGOs.

"Despite offers to review the accusations to determine if funds have been diverted, Israeli authorities have not given any compelling evidence to UN agencies nor NGO partners working in occupied Palestinian territories to support these designations," the UN said. 

The Office of the European Union Representative to Palestine said that allegations the NGOs misused the funds provided by the EU were "unproven" and they will continue to support the six Palestinian NGOs.

Last month, nine European countries said they would continue to cooperate with the six groups, after "no substantial information" was received from Israel to justify their "terror" designation.

The support comes after Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz announced on Wednesday that the terror designation of three of the groups had passed into law.

The other three, which had challenged their terror designations, had their appeals rejected, a statement from Gantz's office said.

On Thursday, the NGOs in a joint press conference declared that they will continue operating despite the restrictions.

The press conference took place hours after Israeli forces forcibly closed the premises of the organisations.