AG Pressured to Open Criminal Investigation of Gantz for NGO Terrorist Label

“We ask you to open a criminal investigation against Minister Gantz for falsely declaring that six Palestinian human rights groups are terrorist organizations” and to “freeze the statement” until the investigation is complete, Mack wrote. He represents the left-wing Israeli NGO Combatants for Peace.

To support the legitimacy of his request for a criminal investigation, Mack referred to section 281 of the Israeli penal code that allows a four-year prison sentence to be imposed on someone who deliberately provides false information that leads to disenfranchisement.

Gantz’s action, Mack said, has affected the freedom of movement and expression of those who work in these organizations. It has also affected their freedom of occupation and association, he added.

In his letter to Mandelblit, Mack claimed that Gantz had approached these six NGOs because they had criticized Israel and provided information against Israel to the International Criminal Court, or had worked with Palestinian prisoners.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. It is a kind of weather vane for the new government. (credit: TOMER NEUBERG / FLASH90)

On Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry said that a plea deal with a Spanish citizen working for the Health Work Committees of Palestinian NGOs had provided evidence that hundreds of thousands of euros have been funneled into terrorist activities.

The HWC had previously been outlawed by Gantz, but it was not one of the six organizations that Israel attacked in October.

These were: Al-Haq, Addameer, the Bisan Center, the Defense of Children International-Palestine, the Committees of the Union for Agricultural Labor and the Committees of the Union of Palestinian Women.

Gantz has been under fire from the left and the international community since he issued the statement, particularly because he did not provide concrete evidence to back up his claim that the groups were diverting humanitarian funds into terrorist activities.

Ireland has said that the evidence Israel provided on the groups to date was not credible.

On Monday, the United Nations Security Council held a closed-door meeting on the issue. Subsequently, five European countries (France, Estonia, Norway, Ireland and Albania) asked Israel to provide proof of the terrorist designation.

On Tuesday, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Palestinian Territories, Lynn Hastings, similarly said that neither the UN nor the Association of International Development Agencies had received evidence to support the terrorist accusation.

“These accusations are taken very seriously. To date, none of the UN agencies or AIDA organizations have received written documentation that could serve as the basis for the allegations, ”Hastings said.

His office said the UN had worked with all six NGOs and was concerned that Israel’s 2016 counterterrorism legislation had been incorrectly applied.

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