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Israeli Foreign minister urges EU to halt funding for NGOs in Palestine


By Paul Falon - August 01, 2015
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Section: [Main News] [Features]
Tags: [European Union]

The Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely has begun calling on EU member states to cease funding non-governmental organizations in Israel and Palestine which she claims are aiming to delegitimize Israel, Ynet reported.

 

European countries provide between 100-200 million euros annually to organizations working inside the Occupied Palestinian territories and Israel that aim to address human rights based issues emerging from Israel’s occupation.

 

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has embarked on a series of consultations with European foreign ministers, their deputies and ambassadors in a bid to convince member states that organizations who support the boycott, divestment, and economic sanction Israel also support what Hotovely describes as terrorist organisations.

 

The diplomatic move comes as part of a broader initiative to tackle the growth of the international Boycott Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement and sustainability of the NGO sector in the region, for which Ynet reports the Israeli government has allocated 100 million NIS ($260,000).

 

Hotovely claims that many of the rights-based organizations funded by EU member states are seeking to deprive the Jewish people of their right to self-determination. She has urged all Israeli embassies in Europe to join her in her campaign. She has warned that if diplomatic moves fail, passing legislation that bans funding such organizations would be the natural next move.

 

During first round talks she met with representatives from:

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

Many see the move as part of the Minister's stance against Palestinian aspirations for statehood. Hotovely rejects Palestinian statehood despite broad international support for a two-state solution, advocating instead for the further expansion of the Israeli state irrespective of international law.

 

“Whoever believes in the Greater Land of Israel has never been prepared to give parts of our homeland away for any purpose, not even for peace,” she told a gathering of Likud youth party members in 2013, the Jerusalem Post reported.

 

Donia Abbas, public outreach and media coordinator from the Coalition of Women for Peace told the Palestine Monitor about the latest diplomatic developments and the witch hunt being led against the NGO sector.

 

“The deputy of foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely’s current attempt joins many attempts and suggested laws in recent years, that all part of silencing any criticism against Israeli policies,” Abbas told the Palestine Monitor.

“These actions target a large group of organizations and activists. At this point, it is not clear if Hotovely will succeed in her attempts, but we are hoping that European countries will not collaborate with the silencing and political witch-hunt against us and other human rights NGOs,” she concluded.

Abbas told the Palestine Monitor that the CWP remains defiant in spite of the crackdown. “We will not be silenced, and will continue in our work and activism against the Israeli occupation, supporting the Palestinian call for BDS and the Palestinian right of return.”

Recently, at the United Nations other diplomatic moves were being played against non-governmental organizations working in Israel and the occupied territories, according to the Jerusalem Post.

At the UN committee which oversees the NGO sector, Israel tried to create a resolution opposing the accreditation of the London-based Palestinian Return Center as it says it promotes Anti-Israel propaganda and is linked to Hamas. The resolution failed.

The PRC vehemently denied ties to Hamas, which could have seen its accreditation quashed, and wants to proceed with legal action against Israel's UN mission due to, “Defamatory and damaging accusations against the center before the UN NGO committee," Reuters reported. Israel’s mission to the UN accused the NGO of harbouring links with the Islamic resistance organisation, Hamas.

The PRC has requested that Israel, "immediately withdraw their defamatory statements" and gave Israel until July 29 to respond to its legal claim before commencing with the lawsuit.

In June, the Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked had tabled a bill to amend income tax laws, that, if implemented, wold result in NGOs having to pay a 45 percent tax on donations from foreign governments, if they openly advocate for IDF soldiers to be called before the ICC, call for boycotts, divestment or sanctions against the State of Israel or its citizens, or incite racism or support armed battle against Israel.

The move against the NGO sector is part of a trend amongst members of the current coalition government. In June the Education Minister Naftali Bennett was reported by CBN news as saying,

"Let it be clear to any company or organization that's considering boycotting us, we will hit back. We will attack our attackers. We will boycott our boycotters,"calling the "boycott weapon" a "double-edged sword."


 

 

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