Gantz did not have evidence to ban 6 Palestinian NGOs

Israeli Minister of Defence Benny Gantz (Menahem Kahana - AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  October 25, 2021

Israeli media reported on yesterday that Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz surprised the Americans, UN and Europeans by declaring six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist groups, local papers reported.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Gantz’s declaration has two faults: the NGOs were banned without evidence being provided for the claims against them and the US – Israel’s main ally – was not informed prior to the decision.

The US, the paper said, would not have condemned this step should it have been told about it.

The Israeli newspaper recalled the bombing of Al-Jalaa Tower, which hosted international media offices, during the Israeli offensive in Gaza in May.

It also recalled the detention and prosecution of the former director of World Vision, Mohammad al-Halabi, over claims of funneling money to Hamas as no evidence has been provided in either of these cases.

The Times of Israel reported yesterday that Shin Bet and the Foreign Ministry will send an envoy to the US with “unequivocal” information proving the six NGOs’ links to terror.

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz complained to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that Gantz had acted alone on the matter. He went on to demand evidence regarding the accusation. The paper reported that Gantz was adamant that the evidence not be presented to the cabinet.

On Friday, Gantz declared six prominent Palestinian human rights groups terrorists organizations which funnel donor money to outlawed groups. Under the ruling, the work of Addameer, Al-Haq, Defense for Children Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Busan Center for Research and Development, and the Union of Palestinian Women Committees have been banned. Gantz said the groups have ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a group banned by the Israeli occupation.

All the groups deny the accusation.