Palestinian nongovernmental organizations seem to be the latest casualty of the Palestinian Authority’s successful bid at the United Nations. On Tuesday (Dec. 11), Israeli military raided offices of Palestinian NGOs it claims to have affiliations with a “terror organization.”
Soldiers stormed the offices of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, Palestinian NGONetwork and Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association, The Washington Post reports. The raids come barely two weeks after the Palestinian Authority gained nonmember status at the United Nations.
Israel has already announced it will not transfer collected taxes for the Palestinian Authority worth $100 million following the Dec. 2 vote. The money was meant to pay a Palestinian debt to the Israeli Electric Corp.
“They are sending a message that, ‘We are here, and you still cannot do anything to stop these violations,’” Palestinian NGO Network Executive Director Samah Darwish said.
Addameer, which supports Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons, reported that a number of its office materials were taken, including four laptops, a hard disk and a video camera. The organization’s desks and filing cabinets were also “ransacked,” Agence France-Presse reports.
A spokeswoman for the Israeli military told AFP they raided offices “affiliated” with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which Israel considers a terrorist organization.
“This Israeli raid … is part of a wider onslaught against Palestinian human rights and civil society organisations and their staff,” Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Program Director Ann Harrison said in a news release. “It’s a pattern of harassment which seems designed to curtail their vital work.”
The United States, a known ally of Israel and which was also against the Palestinians’ bid at the United Nations, has yet to comment on the news. U.S.-funded NGOs were also put in the same situation a year ago when Egyptian authorities raided their offices in Cairo and filed charges against them. The United States threatened to withhold aid to Egypt as a result.
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