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Israel blacklists Palestinian prisoners' fund as 'terrorist organisation'

Lieberman declared the Palestinian National Fund a "terrorist organisation" [AFP]

Date of publication: 17 March, 2017

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Israel declared on Thursday the Palestine Liberation Organisation's main financial body, which provides assistance to Palestinians held in Israeli jails, a terrorist organisation.

Israel's Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday declared the Palestinian National Fund, which provides assistance to Palestinians held in Israeli jails, a "terrorist organisation", his office said.

In a statement, he said the decision "stems from (the fund's) continuing and ongoing activity in providing massive support for elements responsible for committing severe acts of terrorism against Israel".

"As of today, all necessary actions will be taken in Israel and overseas in order to seize and confiscate property and assets designated for, or belonging to, the fund," he added.

Based in Amman, the "martyrs' fund" has been operated by Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian Liberation Organisation since it was set up in 1967.

It makes monthly payments to about 35,000 families of several thousand Palestinians held for alleged anti-Israeli activities.

Abbas condemned the move, calling it "an Israeli attempt to obstruct and sabotage US efforts" to relaunch peace talks.

He said it is a "fundamental violation" of interim agreements signed between the PLO and Israel two decades ago, and called on "all countries of the world to reject this declaration to preserve the agreement".

His remarks came after US envoy Jason Greenblatt wrapped up several days of meetings with both sides aimed at reviving the peace process, which last collapsed in 2014.

Hardliner Lieberman, defence minister since last May, has been a fierce critic of the Palestinian president, regularly accusing Abbas of supporting extremism.

Around 7,000 Palestinians are currently detained in Israeli prisons, according to Palestinian rights groups.

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