Israel authorities designated the civil society and human rights groups as “terrorist” organisations last month for alleged links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Six Palestinian civil society and human rights organisations, including Addameer, have been outlawed in the West Bank by Israel.
Six Palestinian civil society and human rights organisations, including Addameer, have been outlawed in the West Bank by Israel. (Reuters)

Israel's army has announced that six Palestinian civil society groups previously designated as "terrorist" organisations can no longer legally operate in the occupied West Bank.

Last month, Defence Minister Benny Gantz declared that prominent organisations were acting in collaboration with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), labelled as a terrorist organisation by a number of Western states.

The designations sparked outrage among leading international and Israeli rights groups that partner with the targeted Palestinian organisations.

READ MORE: Progressive lawmakers call on US House to condemn Israel’s NGO designations

The Israeli army announced on Sunday that Gantz's designation had been implemented after West Bank Army Chief Yehuda Fox signed an order declaring the six groups "illegal" as they were "part" of the PFLP and "endanger the State of Israel".

The move will expose the organisations' staff to extra risks.

The banned groups are Addameer, Al-Haq, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International – Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees and the Union of Palestinian Women's Committees.

READ MORE: Israel's new plan: Build a ring of settlements and go deeper into Palestine

Smear campaign

Israel shared a 74-page dossier prepared by the Shin Bet internal security agency with a number of foreign governments to implicate the Palestinian non-governmental organisations.

The dossier, first obtained by Israeli publications +972 Magazine and Local Call, is based substantially on testimony from individuals unaffiliated with the targeted groups.

Among them is Said Abedat, who worked as an accountant for a different Palestinian organisation, called the Health Work Committee.

READ MORE: UN slams Israel's 'unjustified attack' on Palestinian civil society groups

Abedat, identified as a "PFLP operative", claimed in statements given to police that the six groups are mostly staffed by PFLP operatives. It is not clear what evidence he offered to support that claim. Asked about criticism that its dossier lacks firm evidence, the Shin Bet declined to comment.

Prominent Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard, who advises one of the targeted groups, told AFP that "no one has provided a shred of evidence" to implicate the organisation.

"The dossier exposed in +972 Magazine is made of absolutely nothing that could remotely justify designations," he said.

Source: AFP