UK urged to press Israel on listing of six Palestinian groups as terrorist

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UK urged to press Israel on listing of six Palestinian groups as terrorist

SNP's Tommy Sheppard and Labour's Apsana Begum table Early Day Motion declaring the move a 'direct assault on Palestinian civil society'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Wesminster SNP MP Tommy Sheppard speaks during the SNP National Conference at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre.
Wesminster SNP MP Tommy Sheppard speaks during the SNP National Conference at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre.

Scottish National Party MP Tommy Sheppard has tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons calling on the Government to demand Israel reveals the evidence behind a decision to designate six Palestinian groups as terrorist organisations.

The EDM, which is backed by Labour MP Apsana Begum, described the declaration made by Israeli Minister of Defence Benny Gantz on October 22 as a “further direct assault on Palestinian civil society in an effort to isolate and suffocate Palestinian human rights defenders.”

Gantz  had last month declared the six Palestinian human rights groups to be “terror organisations” that had effectively operated as an arm for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine group.

The six organisations included the Palestinian rights group Al-Haq, Addameer, which represents Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli military courts, and Defence for Children-International, a group that advocates for Palestinian children.

The Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, the Bisan Research and Advocacy Center and the Union Of Agricultural Work Committees were also declared to be terrorist organisations.

According to the Defence Ministry, all six organisations employed senior PFLP members, “including activists involved in terror activity.”

Aspana Begum

Israel, the United States and the European Union consider the PFLP, one of several member parties of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, to be a terror group.

But Sheppard’s EDM described the six organisations as “deeply committed to protecting the human rights of Palestinian communities, highlighting Israel’s illegal policies and also those of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.”

It also noted that 22 Israel civil society groups had issued statements in support of the six organisations.

The EDM, tabled on October 25, also called on the Government to reaffirm its support for both Palestinian and Israeli civil society “as a key foundation in building a just peace  between Israelis and Palestinians.”

The SNP’s MP for Edinburgh East has been a notorious critic of Israel in the past.


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