Ramallah, Aug 18 (EFE).- The Israeli army Thursday raided and forced the closure of the offices of several Palestinian civil society rights groups in the occupied West Bank.
The Israeli authorities designated the rights groups operating from Ramallah as “terrorist organizations” in October last year.
Al-Haq, a prominent NGO to monitor compliance with human rights in the occupied territories, was one of the non-profits shut down.
“This morning, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) raided Al-Haq’s office in Ramallah, confiscated items, and shut down the main entrance with an iron plate leaving behind a military order declaring the organization unlawful,” the NGO tweeted.
Israeli forces also searched and closed the Ramallah headquarters of the Bisan Research and Development Center, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, and the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.
Ramallah is part of “Area A” of the occupied West Bank and is under the civil and military control of the Palestinian National Authority.
It in principle means that the Israeli army can only enter the city in coordination with the PNA for security reasons.
On Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz confirmed the designation of the Palestinian non-governmental organizations as “terrorist” entities by rejecting their appeal under Israeli law.
Israel’s move to designate the organizations as terrorists in October 2021 faced international criticism.
In addition to the minister’s decision is the army’s refusal of the appeals filed by these four Palestinian NGOs – as well as the Defense for Children International – and in the Israeli military courts of the occupied West Bank.
Designating these five non-profits as terrorists will allow the Israeli government to step up pressure on them through actions such as their closure, the confiscation of their assets, the interruption of their activities, and the prosecution of their members and authorities.
The Israeli defense minister’s decision did not mention the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, the last of six NGOs designated as terrorist organizations last year.
The minister’s text reiterates the initial allegations that these organizations act as an arm of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), designated a terrorist organization by Israel, the European Union, and the United States.
Israel also accuses the organizations of fundraising, recruiting members, and advancing the goals of the PFLP.
These accusations were rejected more recently by the foreign ministries of Spain, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden. EFE