ANKARA: Israel failed to convince European capitals and Washington of its recent terror designation of six Palestinian human rights groups, according to a US news organization.
Last month, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz designated six Palestinian rights groups as terrorist organizations, citing alleged links between the groups and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a leftist Palestinian party blacklisted by Israel.
The groups are Al-Haq, Addameer, Bisan Center, Defense for Children International-Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.
The Intercept website said European countries were not convinced by Israel’s secret dossier, sent to them, to justify its terrorist designation of the six Palestinian rights groups.
According to the news outlet, the secret dossier was prepared by Israel’s internal security service, Shin Bet, and was based on information from interrogation taken under duress from two Palestinian accountants, who worked for a Palestinian rights group that was also labelled by Israel last year as a terrorist organization.
One of the two accountants was threatened “to arrest his wife and family,” the report said.
“In May, Israeli emissaries sent the dossier to European countries in a bid to persuade the governments to cut funding,” The Intercept said, adding that the dossier “failed to convince the foreign governments”, which decided “to continue their financial support” as the Israeli dossier didn’t contain any “concrete evidence”.
An “Israeli delegation sent to do damage control following outrage over the designations distributed a similar or identical document to members of US Congress and congressional staff,” the report said.
According to The Intercept, there were plans to send the document to the US State Department, which “requested more information on the designations.”
Michael Sfard, an Israeli lawyer representing one of the six Palestinian rights groups, described the designation as a “political attack” taken under “the guise of security”.
Israel aimed, Sfard said, to silence these groups for their criticisms of Israel, “promoting a boycott of Israel and the investigation of war crimes at the International Criminal Court.”
Al-Haq organization, for its part, described the designations as an Israeli attempt to persecute the rights groups and close their offices.
“Israel is now worryingly enforcing its threats with total impunity and complete contempt for the strong statements of condemnation from the international community over the past two weeks,” the group said in a statement.
There was no comment from the Israeli authorities on the report.-AA