U.S. expresses concern over Israeli raids on Palestinian civil society groups
The U.S. asked Israel for clarifications about the raids the Israeli military conducted at the offices of several Palestinian civil society organizations in the occupied West Bank, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.
Why it matters: Last October Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz designated six Palestinian civil society and human rights organizations as "terrorist organizations." The move was widely condemned internationally.
- The State Department over the last year has been reviewing the Israeli designation.
- Price said on Thursday that the U.S. hasn’t changed its approach and position regarding these organizations as a result of the information Israel has given in the last year.
Driving the news: During the early Thursday morning raids, the Israeli military confiscated computers and other property and closed the offices of the Palestinian organizations.
- The IDF said these groups are affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which is designated by Israel and the U.S. as a terrorist organization. The organizations deny the allegations.
What they're saying: Price said the U.S. is concerned about the Israeli raids and has asked the Israeli government for more information about the basis for the decision.
- “Our Israeli partners have assured us that more information will be forthcoming regarding the basis for their actions. We of course have assured them that we will review that information on a timely basis and very carefully," Price said.
- He added the U.S. told Israel that any new information they provide regarding the basis for today’s actions would be reviewed “carefully, thoroughly and immediately."
- “We have conveyed the message that there must be a very high bar to take action against civil society organizations. Our Israeli partners in turn, have conveyed back to us that they have met that high bar," Price said.
Asher Moskowitz contributed to the story