WASHINGTON – Israel’s Mission to the UN led a diplomatic effort to prevent from the Hamas–aligned “The Palestinian Association for Human Rights - Witness” from receiving a prestigious status at the UN.
The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on Thursday granted a special UN status to several global NGOs, a step enabling these organizations to advise the UN in various fields and take part in its activities.
236 NGOs were granted this special status Thursday. Among those which applied was a Palestinian organization registered in Lebanon under the name “Witness,” which ostensibly promotes the rights of the 450,000 Palestinians living in the 12 UNRWA-run refugee camps across Lebanon.
Witness’s goals appear in the organization’s website: “Improving the living conditions of the Palestinian refugees;” “Defining the rights of the Palestinian refugees and protecting it;” “Promoting the culture of the children’s rights among the Palestinian community of refugees in Lebanon,” and “giving the Palestinian youth and children the needed attention and meeting their demands.”
Last March, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benjamin Netanyahu signed an order declaring “Witness” a terrorist organization aligned with Hamas.
“In recent months, Israel’s security establishment has revealed that Witness belongs to the Hamas movement and acts on its behalf against Israel as part of a network of institutions and organizations the terrorist organization operates outside the Gaza Strip,” Israel’s Mission to the UN said in a statement Thursday.
“Witness’s chairman, Mahmoud al-Hanafi, frequently met with the leadership of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Lebanon to promote legal proceedings for Palestinian prisoners jailed in Israel. Although Witness engages in humanitarian aid and human rights in Lebanon, it actively promotes political terrorism against Israel, thus misleading the international community.”Following the diplomatic effort, led by Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, 28 out of 48 countries in the UN’s Economic and Social Council objected to granting the organization the special status.
Among the countries that voted in favor: Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States. The countries that voted against include Egypt, Iran, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Yemen.
Ambassador Danon said that “Hamas has learned that it has no immunity in Gaza, and now not in the international community. The UN should declare Hamas a terrorist organization and not recognize its affiliates in any international forum. We demand that the United Nations act uncompromisingly against terrorist organizations that are attempting to engage in political terror against the State of Israel.”