Belgium, France, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden release joint statement citing “insufficient evidence” to support the designation • U.N. threatens to blacklist Israel following report on deaths of Palestinian minors.
Nine European governments rejected on Tuesday an Israeli decision to class six Palestinian organizations as terrorist entities.
The foreign ministries of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden said in a joint statement that Israel’s October 2021 designation of the Palestinian “civil society organizations” as terrorist organizations was not supported by substantial evidence.
“No substantial information was received from Israel that would justify reviewing our policy towards the six Palestinian NGOs on the basis of the Israeli decision to designate these NGOs as ‘terrorist organizations,’ ” said the statement.
“Should evidence be made available to the contrary, we would act accordingly. In the absence of such evidence, we will continue our cooperation,” said the governments, adding that a “free and strong civil society is indispensable for promoting democratic values and for the two-state solution.”
Professor Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, said in response: “When European officials say they see ‘no evidence’ of the terror links of their Palestinian NGO clients, they are ignoring numerous open source verifiable examples. There is no excuse for this blind abuse of taxpayer funds. NGO Monitor will continue to research and publish details on the links between the PFLP and its European NGO network.”
In his decision last year, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the six Palestinian NGOs would be listed as terror organizations for their close ties with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
“Those organizations were active under the cover of civil society organizations, but in practice belong and constitute an arm of the [PFLP] leadership, the main activity of which is the liberation of Palestine and destruction of Israel,” said Gantz at the time. “I call on the countries of the world and international organizations to assist in this fight and to avoid contact with companies and organizations that supply materials to terrorism.”
Meanwhile, the United Nations released a report on Monday according to which 78 Palestinian minors and 982 maimed by Israeli security forces in 2021. Israel “should be added to a U.N. blacklist if its violence against Palestinian children is repeated this year,” said U.N. secretary-general António Guterres in response to the report, according to Middle East Eye.
The annual Children and Armed Conflict report said the highest verified violations against children included Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia.