Shin Bet passes new info to CIA about blacklisted Palestinian NGOs

An Israeli delegation visited Washington last week to try to convice the State Department and the CIA to back Israel's designation of six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist.

Shin Bet (illustrative) (photo credit: PEXELS)
Shin Bet (illustrative)
(photo credit: PEXELS)

After previous efforts failed, an Israeli security delegation visited Washington last week in another attempt to convince the administration to back the designation of the six organizations as terrorist organizations. The affair caused sharp criticism against Israel in the Democratic Party. The US State Department said the new information would be reviewed.

An Israeli security delegation visited Washington last week in an attempt to convince the US State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency to back Israel's designation of six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations, senior Israeli and American officials said.

Why is this important?

Defense Minister Benny Gantz's decision a year ago to declare the six organizations as terrorist organizations resulted in sharp criticism in the US and European countries. The criticism in the US was especially heavy from Democratic members of Congress and liberal Jewish organizations.

Senior Israeli officials admitted that the move against the Palestinian organizations severely damaged Israel's image in the US, especially among supporters of the Democratic Party.

 The logo of the Palestinian human rights organisation Al-Haq is seen in its offices in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, November 8, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN) The logo of the Palestinian human rights organisation Al-Haq is seen in its offices in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, November 8, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)

Behind the scenes

"We told the Americans that we acted against six organizations out of 250 similar organizations that operate in the West Bank because of their involvement in terrorism and not because of their political positions or because they say things we don't like."

Senior Israeli official

Senior Israeli officials said that the delegation included representatives of the Shin Bet, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Members of the delegation met with representatives of the US State Department, the CIA and the US Director of National Intelligence.

The Israeli delegation presented up-to-date intelligence information regarding the six Palestinian organizations and alleged evidence regarding their involvement in the terrorist activities of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Israeli officials said.

A senior Israeli official said that the members of the delegation stressed to the State Department and the CIA that Israel is not trying to suppress the activities of all Palestinian civil organizations.

"We told the Americans that we acted against six organizations out of 250 similar organizations that operate in the West Bank because of their involvement in terrorism and not because of their political positions or because they say things we don't like," the Israeli official noted.

Background about the NGO controversy

About a year ago, after the declaration of the six organizations as terrorist organizations, Israel transferred to the United States the intelligence information upon which it had based the declaration. For many months, American intelligence agencies examined the information and formed an opinion on the matter.

A spokesperson for the State Department said about three weeks ago that the information that Israel provided did not cause the US government to change its attitude toward these six organizations.

In mid-August, the IDF raided the offices of several of these organizations, confiscated equipment and closed the offices. The State Department expressed concern over the move and stated that the US had asked Israel for clarification.

What is the Israeli government saying?

The Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry, and the Shin Bet refused to comment on the matter.

A spokesman for the US State Department said in response: "Israeli officials continue to explain to the US the rationale and reasons for declaring six Palestinian non-governmental organizations as terrorist organizations. The US government is currently examining additional information that Israel has provided on the matter."