Photo Credit: Majdi Fathi/TPS
PFLP rally in Gaza

Representatives of the NGOs connected to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which were declared by Israel as terrorist organizations over the weekend, announced at a press conference held on Saturday in Ramallah that they will continue to operate despite the Israeli government’s decision to shut down their activities.

Representatives of the six organizations stressed during a joint press conference that their activities will continue and called on the international community to stand by them and oppose the decision of the defense establishment in Israel.

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Shawan Jabarin, director-general of Al-Haq, said that “the occupation’s decision is surprising, but it is a political decision and stems from Israel’s internal affairs and is not a decision that stems from substance or security reasons.”

Jabarin added that the decision is part of a long series of measures designed to harm and defame civil society institutions with the intention of silencing them and preventing them from operating in the international arena.

PA jurist Majd Aruri said that the Israeli move is “part of a campaign against Palestinian civil society institutions in light of the role played by human rights organizations in the international legal arena and which helped bring a lawsuit against Israel in The Hague.”

The Palestinian Authority is currently satisfied with releasing lukewarm statements. PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh rejected Israel’s decision to define the organizations as terrorist organizations and called on the international community and human rights organizations around the world to condemn the move, which he claims is contrary to international decisions and laws.

Representatives of the organizations, all activists of the PFLP, criticized the Palestinian Authority’s position on Israel’s decision and said that the PA should do more and act beyond the declarations.

Hamas also condemned the Israeli decision and stated that it is an attempt to harm Palestinian activity and their national institutions in order to weaken the resistance of the Palestinian people.

Hamas called on the Palestinian Authority to take a clear stand against the decision “and not be content with standing aside in the face of Zionist aggression against our people and its institutions.”

PFLP spokesman Ahmad al-Kharis said the PA was “obliged to confront the occupation’s decision aimed at preventing the activities of six Palestinian institutions,” adding that “the PA’s statements is not enough.”

There is now a growing fear that the decision will dry up or damage the financing pipes of the PFLP organizations and the activity of the banks through which huge sums flowed to the organizations.

Al-Kharis told the media that the six organizations are concerned with human rights and are not connected to the PFLP, saying that “the Israeli decision is serious due to the fact that it incites against civic organizations and may cause funders to rethink and hesitate.”

“The decision of the occupation will have serious consequences for the poor and for anyone who benefits from the services of these institutions,” he said, and sent letters to ambassadors and consuls of European countries on the issue.

The institutions were declared terrorist organizations following the joint activities of the Shin Bet security service and the National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing and were approved by the legal entities in Israel. The defense establishment believes that these organizations are part of a network of organizations operating undercover in the international arena on behalf of the PFLP and that between 2021-2014, more than 200 million euros were donated to them by foreign governments. Dozens of senior members of organizations are still linked to terrorism and some were even involved in the murder of Rina Shnerb in 2019.

A senior official in Ramallah told TPS that the PA is pleased with Israel’s steps because in recent months the PFLP has become one of the sources of criticism of the PA, and especially from human rights organizations acting on its behalf, and in the background of the crisis between the PFLP and the PA over the past two years due to the freeze of PFLP’s budgets.

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Baruch reports on Arab affairs for TPS.