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Germany, Israel to discuss ending funds to 6 banned Palestinian groups

Occupied Palestine (The Inside Palestine)- Israel and Germany will discuss means of keeping money away from six Palestinian groups Tel Aviv banned last year to allow funding to proceed for programmes they were intended to run.

Israel blacklisted the six prominent NGOs in October, claiming they were “terror groups” – an allegation the rights groups strongly deny.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch at the time called the move, which the United States also rebuked, “an attack by the Israeli government on the international human rights movement”.

The decision to look at alternative funding options follows a request by German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock for Israel to look at how schemes the banned NGOs were meant to run might still go ahead.

Baerbock was in Israel, Haaretz reported on Thursday. She attended a media briefing alongside Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who maintained that Tel Aviv outlawed “just six civil society groups” out of dozens in the West Bank.

Lapid claimed his country opposed those using funds given to civilian schemes for what he claimed were “terror-related purposes”.

The FM said that within the six banned groups, only certain staff were accused of participation in the misuse of funds.

The banned Palestinian NGOs were 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.

At the briefing, Lapid additionally claimed that settlement building was to be permitted under Israel’s present coalition government solely to allow for what Haaretz characterised as “natural growth”.

It came as the FM asserted the coalition won’t act to stop a state of Palestine being created in the future, though many consider settlement activity of any kind a major barrier to the two-state solution.

Source: The New Arab

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