Israel designated six Palestinian groups as terrorist organizations Friday, accusing them of funneling donor aid to militants.
The designations enable officials to shutter the groups' offices, seize their assets, and arrest their staff in the West Bank. The groups were designated for allegedly funding the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which has an armed wing that has carried out deadly attacks against Israelis, according to Reuters.
"[The] declared organizations received large sums of money from European countries and international organizations, using a variety of forgery and deceit," the defense ministry said in a statement.
An official with PFLP, which is on terrorism blacklists in the European Union and the United States, did not outright reject ties to the six groups but said the organization maintains relations with civil society organizations across the region, the outlet reported.
Many condemned Israel's action, including Human Rights Watch, which called the defense ministry's decision "an attack by the Israeli government on the international human rights movement."
"How the international community responds will be a true test of its resolve to protect human rights defenders," HRW's statement read. "We are proud to work with our Palestinian partners and have been doing so for decades. They represent the best of global civil society. We stand with them in challenging this outrageous decision.”
Rep. Mark Pocan also criticized the decision, noting on social media that many of the organizations are working to bring peace in the region.
Tensions between Israel and Palestine have simmered over the past few months. Israel launched airstrikes against Gaza in June, nearly one month after a ceasefire between the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas. The airstrikes marked the first offensive move since the May 20 ceasefire that ended the 11-day conflict between the two groups.
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Original Author: Asher Notheis
Original Location: Israel designates six Palestinian rights groups as terrorists