Israel designates Irish funded NGOs as terror entities

Israel designates Irish funded NGOs as terror entities

ISRAEL has labelled six NGOs operating in Palestinian territories, some of which are funded by Irish Aid and the European Union, as terrorist entities.

In voicing oncerns over the new development, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has followed suit with a number of human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

Mr Coveney said that while the EU is in contact with Israel, it was not informed prior to the designation, which happened last Friday.

He said that detailed evidence justifying the decision was yet to be provided by Israel.

Mr Coveney pointed to the fact that previous allegations against civil society organisations in the territory had not been supported by evidence.

"Ireland is committed to funding civil society organisations and human rights defenders through the Irish Aid programme, including Palestinian civil society, and maintains robust checks to ensure that our funding is used only for the purpose intended," Mr Coveney said.

He reaffirmed Ireland's stance that terrorism remains a very serious issue, but said that it "must be addressed with both resolve and with evidence".

"As stated by UN human rights experts in their statement of 25 October: 'anti-terrorism legislation is designed for a specific and restricted purpose and must not be used to unjustifiably undermine civil liberties or to curtail the legitimate work of human rights organisations'," the Minister said.

Defending the decision, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that the groups in question had acted as an organ of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror group.

“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,” the Times of Israel reported that Gantz’s office said in a statement.