Israeli crackdown on Palestinian NGOs ‘unacceptable’: EU foreign policy chief
‘Free, strong civil society indispensable for promoting democratic values, for 2-state solution, says Josep Borrell
The EU foreign policy chief on Monday called the recent crackdown by Israeli forces on six Palestinian NGOs “unacceptable.”
“The EU is deeply concerned by the raids on six Palestinian civil society organizations that took place in the morning of 18 August and the measures that followed them including arrests and interrogations of staff members,” Josep Borrell said in a statement.
He pointed out that “these actions are not acceptable,” reminding the Israeli authorities that anti-terrorism measures should “not lead to undermining civil society and its valuable work.”
Borrell asserted that the EU did not receive “substantial information” from Israel on why the bloc should review its policy towards these organizations after Israel listed them as “terrorist organizations” and accused them of misusing EU funds.
He also said that the EU supports the call by the UN agencies for Israel to refrain from any action that would prevent these organizations from continuing their critical work in the occupied Palestinian Territories.
“A free and strong civil society is indispensable for promoting democratic values and for a two-state solution,” Borrell underlined.
Israeli forces forcefully closed six NGOs in the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Al-Bireh on Aug. 18.
The move came after the Israeli Defense Ministry listed some of the NGOs as terrorist organizations last year.