UNSC members condemn Israel’s raids and closures of seven Palestinian NGOs

New York City (QNN)- A majority of United Nations Security Council members condemned on Thursday Israel’s recent raids and closures of seven leading Palestinian civil society organizations, noting that ‘Israel’ had not provided information to back up its claim that these were “terrorist” groups.

“Norway has clearly stated that the information Israel has provided does not sufficiently justify designating the organizations as ‘terror organizations,’” Norwegian Deputy Ambassador Trine Heimerback told the UNSC on Thursday.

“We will continue our support for Palestinian civil society,” she added, adding, “We are troubled by subsequent reports of threats against the employees of these organizations and their families. Such actions are unacceptable.”

Mexico’s representative also called for a cessation of harassment against Palestinian civil-society organizations. “A democratic State must not carry out actions that reduce civic space,” she stressed.

Irish Deputy Ambassador Cait Moran agreed, underscoring that the 18 August raids — and the measures that followed — represent a “worrying reduction of space for civil society in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”. She went on to point out that Ireland has not received any information from ‘Israel’ that would justify reviewing its policy towards those organizations, expressing serious concern over the misuse of counter-terror legislation in this regard

France also issued similar statements at the 15-member UNSC’s monthly meeting on Israel’s occupation of Palestine, expressing concern over the Israeli raids and stressing that a free, dynamic civil society is vital for promoting democratic values and implementing a two-State solution.

The United Kingdom voiced concern over Israel’s decision last year to outlaw six Palestinian groups, adding that civil society organizations play an important role in “upholding human rights and democracy and they must be able to operate freely in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

While noting that his country is conscious of Israel’s security concerns, Ghana’s ambassador expressed concern over the Israeli raids, saying these groups are known to have contributed to human-rights protection in the Territory and the shutting down of the offices is worrying. “Terrorist designations, if they are to be shared by the international community, require full justification.” “To achieve peace requires deliberate actions in building trust,” he went on to say.

France and Ireland also signed onto a statement issued by nine European countries against the raid earlier this week.

US Deputy Ambassador Richard Mills also said at the UNSC’s meeting that his country “values the role that independent NGOs play in monitoring human rights violations and abuses in the West Bank and Gaza, in Israel, and elsewhere.”

The US “firmly believes they must be able to continue this important work. Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and a strong civil society, are critically important to responsible, responsive and democratic governance,” Mills added.

US Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland “described for the UNSC how On 18 August, Israeli forces ordered the closure of the offices of seven organizations, including all six NGOs designated as terrorist organizations in [October] 2021, and searched their offices in Ramallah.”

“Equipment was confiscated, in some cases destroyed, and confidential files were seized. Israeli authorities also summoned the directors of three of these organizations for questioning,” Wennesland said.

(Source / 27.08.22)

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