Israel to provide information to U.S. on basis for NGO closures -State Dept
Washington (Reuters) – Israel has said it will provide additional information to the United States on the basis for the closure of Palestinian nongovernmental organizations on Thursday, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said while expressing concern over the closures of civil society groups.
Washington contacted Israeli officials, including at high levels, for more information, Price said at a regular news briefing, after security forces raided the offices of seven groups in the Israeli-occupied West Bank it accuses of channeling aid to militant groups.
“We will review what is provided to us and come to our own conclusion,” Price said.
The United Nations condemned the closures and said there was no credible evidence to support the Israeli accusations.
“Despite offers to do so, Israeli authorities have not presented to the United Nations any credible evidence to justify these declarations,” the U.N. Human Rights Office said in a statement. “As such, the closures appear totally arbitrary.”
The United Nations identified the groups as the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association; Al Haq; Bisan Center for Research and Development; Defense for Children International – Palestine; Health Work Committees (HWC); Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC); the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC).
Nine European Union countries have said they will continue working with the groups, citing a lack of evidence for the Israeli accusation.