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Middle East: ‘Concern’ of 9 European countries after Israel’s decision to close offices of seven Palestinian NGOs

Nine European countries expressed their “deep concern” on Friday over the closure by the Israeli army of the offices of seven Palestinian non-governmental organizations based in the West Bank, which Israel accuses of “terrorism”.

“We are deeply concerned about the raids that took place on the morning of August 18 in the context of an alarming restriction of civil society space” in the Palestinian territories, the representatives of the foreign ministries of France, Germany, Italy and Spain said in a joint statement. , the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Ireland and Denmark.

“These actions are not acceptable,” they stressed.

The Israeli military conducted a search on Thursday morning and closed the offices of seven Palestinian NGOs in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank.

These are six organizations designated “terrorist” in 2021 and the Health Work Committees, which Israel says is linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

The PFLP is a Palestinian movement that has an armed wing but is less powerful than Hamas or Islamic Jihad.

“A free and strong civil society is essential for the promotion of democratic values ​​and for the two-state solution,” the nine European countries underlined.

Besides, they reminded that “we have not received any substantial information from Israel that would justify the revision of our policy towards the six Palestinian NGOs following the Israeli decision to designate them as ‘terrorist organizations'”.

“If there is convincing evidence to the contrary, we will act accordingly,” they assured.

The Israeli government had announced in October 2021 that it had listed six Palestinian NGOs it said were linked to the PFLP, a decision criticized by human rights groups.

The organizations themselves denied being affiliated with the PFLP.

And the US on Thursday expressed its “concern” about the closure of the NGOs.

Source: AMPE

Source: Capital

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