BRUSSELS, Monday, August 22, 2022 (WAFA) – The EU expressed deep concern over the Israeli forces’ raids on six Palestinian civil society organizations on 18 August.
“The EU is deeply concerned by the raids on six Palestinian civil society organizations that took place on the morning of 18 August and the measures that followed them including arrests and interrogations of staff members of these organizations, as part of a worrying reduction of space for civil society in the oPt. These actions are not acceptable,” said a statement issued by the EU High Representative Josep Borrell.
A free and strong civil society is indispensable for promoting democratic values and for a two-state solution. The EU is committed to its continued support to civil society that contributes to this purpose and to confidence-building between Israelis and Palestinians. It stands firm with non-governmental organizations to uphold the right to freedom of expression and association in the oPt, said the statement.
“As already explained, no substantial information was received from Israel that would justify reviewing our policy towards the six Palestinian civil society organizations on the basis of the Israeli decision to designate these NGOs as ‘terrorist organizations.’ We have been consistently clear with Israeli authorities on this, together with many EU Member States and like-minded partners, including following the latest events. Should convincing evidence be made available to the contrary, we would act accordingly. In the meantime, it is crucial to ensure that anti-terrorism legislation does not lead to undermining civil society and its valuable work and contributions to building fairer and more peaceful societies.”
The EU supports the call by the UN agencies on Israel to refrain from any action that would prevent these organizations from continuing their critical human rights, humanitarian and development work in the oPt, the statement concluded.