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Sabra Express | NGO No Go

Tovah Lazaroff, Jerusalem Post, August 20th 2022


Recap:

After classifying seven Palestinian Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) as terrorist groups, Israel faces pressure to increase transparency into its terrorist designation process.


The Context:

· An NGO is a nonprofit organization that operates independently of any government. NGOs are usually immune when undertaking advocacy for political issues or criticizing the government.

· The IDF raided seven Palestinian NGOs last week, demanding their immediate closure. The raid occurred in Area A of the West Bank, which is under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

· Israel claimed “ironclad” intelligence that tied the NGOs to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a group that has carried out deadly attacks against Israel and is labeled a terror organization by both the US and Israel [1]. Israel claims the NGOs operate under the guise of performing humanitarian activities but actually help recruit operatives and raise funds for the PFLP [2]. Israeli authorities have previously charged the PFLP for siphoning millions from NGOs to fund its terrorist activities [3].

· Nine European nations and 45 Israeli rights groups condemned the raid, saying the allegations were baseless, demanding additional evidence [4]. Many of the shuttered NGO’s receive considerable funding from EU member states and the United Nations [5].


Conversation Points:

· Should a country have a right to criticize another country’s internal affairs?

· Should Israel be more forthcoming with its evidence?

· Was the terror designation intended to dry up European funding to Palestinian NGOs?

· Are Palestinian NGOs unfairly targeted because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?


Notes:

1. Israel shutters Palestinian rights groups, drawing diplomatic backlash, Miriam Berger, Washington Post, August 18, 2022.

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.


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