Oct. 22 (UPI) — Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz Friday declared six Palestinian nongovernmental organizations as “terrorist organizations,” a move that brought immediate condemnation from Palestinian officials and some human rights groups.
Gantz’s Defense Ministry said groups operating in a network run by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine fell in the terrorism organization category.
“The security organizations will continue to act and intensify the strikes against terrorism and the terrorist infrastructure everywhere, and by all means,” Gantz said, according to the Jerusalem Post. “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.”
The six groups are Addameer, al-Haq, Defense for Children Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Bisan Center for Research and Development and the Union of Palestinian Women Committees.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh denied the charges that the organizations were terrorist groups.
“The Israeli decision amounts to a serious violation of international law,” Shtayyeh said, according to Palestinian news outlet WAFA. The targeted institutions operate in accordance with Palestinian law, and work in partnerships with international institutions.”
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued a joint statement against the designation.
“This appalling and unjust decision is an attack by the Israeli government on the international human rights movement,” the groups said. “For decades, Israeli authorities have systematically sought to muzzle human rights monitoring and punish those who criticize its repressive rule over Palestinians.
“While staff members of our organizations have faced deportation and travel bans, Palestinian human rights defenders have always borne the brunt of the repression.”