US 'opposes' Israel's 'terrorist' designation of six Palestinian NGOs
The US confirmed on Tuesday its opposition to an Israeli decision last year to list six Palestinian NGOs as 'terrorist groups'.
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the administration did not designate any of the six NGOs as terrorist organisations and said that Washington also did not fund them.
"We’ve made it very clear to our Israeli government and Palestinian Authority interlocutors that independent civil society organisations in the West Bank and in Israel must be able to continue their important work," said Price.
He said they "valued" the monitoring of human rights violations in Gaza, the West Bank, in Israel and elsewhere.
Responding to a question on whether he believes these six NGOs are involved in any terrorist activity, the State Department official said that Washington was currently studying "information" presented by Israel.
"Our Israeli partners have provided us with information regarding the basis for their determination. That’s information that we’re reviewing. It's a process that can be lengthy because it’s a process that takes place not only here," Price told reporters.
The US asked Israel for explanations on the designations last year.
Earlier this week, United Nations human rights experts urged the international community to resume funding to the six NGOs.
"Israel has had six months to substantiate its accusations and it has failed to deliver," the experts said in a statement.
The experts slammed the designation for not being "accompanied by any public concrete and credible evidence".
Israel labelled six Palestinian civil society groups as terrorist organisations last year, despite not substantiating the claims.
This included Addameer, a detainees' rights organisation, Defense for Children International – Palestine, legal NGO Al-Haq, the Union of Palestinian Women's Committees, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees and the Bisan Center for Research and Development.