European UNSC members press Israel for answers on NGO terror labeling

Security Council members Estonia, France, Ireland and Norway, as well as Albania, signed a statement asking Israel for information on NGO designations.

Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan addresses a virtual UNSC meeting Tuesday. (photo credit: COURTESY ISRAEL'S UN MISSION IN NEW YORK)
Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan addresses a virtual UNSC meeting Tuesday.
(photo credit: COURTESY ISRAEL'S UN MISSION IN NEW YORK)

European members of the United Nations Security Council pressed Israel for answers on its decision to designate six Palestinian non-governmental groups as terror entities.

"These listings are a matter of serious concern, as they have far-reaching consequences for the organizations in political, legal and financial terms," the countries said after the UNSC held a closed door meeting on the matter in New York on Monday.

Signatories to the statement were Security Council members Estonia, France, Ireland and Norway as well as Albania, which will become a UNSC member in January.

"We will be engaging Israeli authorities for more information regarding the basis for these designations, which we will study carefully," the five European countries said. The United Kingdom, which is also a UNSC member, did not sign onto the statement.

European countries, particularly Ireland, have sought information from Israel to back up its charges against the six NGOs that include Al-Haq, Addameer, the Bisan Center, the Defense for Children International-Palestine, the Union for Agricultural Work Committees and the Union of Palestinian Women's Committees. Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told The Jerusalem Post last week that Israel had not provided him with credible information to back up its claim. Ireland provides funding for two of the NGOs, Al-Haq and Addameer.

On Monday Ireland's Ambassador to the UN Geraldine Byrne Nason repeated that statement to reporters in New York.  "This is a matter that concerns us deeply. We weren't alerted to this," she said.

"We have't seen any credible evidence of the links of the Palestinian NGOs to terror organizations. We have asked to see what evidence there is," Nason said.

"There are Irish NGOs associated with some of the Palestinian NGOs," Nason explained. "We always watch where our support goes to, so we would like to better understand what is happening here." 

After the meeting, the Palestinian Authority's Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour said that the UNSC members did not "buy the story of the occupying authority and their creating fear among then for labeling the six NGOs as terrorist organizations. They are not buying the evidence of Israel, which we welcome."

Simon Coveney, Foreign Affairs and Defense Minister for Ireland (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)Simon Coveney, Foreign Affairs and Defense Minister for Ireland (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

The UNSC did not issue any statement with regard to Israel's designation of the NGOs as terror entities. Israel has not publicized evidence to back up its claims that these groups had diverted funds from humanitarian initiatives to terror activity.

An Israeli delegation did travel to Washington last week to provide the US with information backing up that claim.

On Monday US State Department spokesman Ned Price said that the Biden administration had "a constructive discussion with an Israeli delegation that was visiting last week." The delegation provided a verbal briefing on information that they had on certain groups. They also provided written materials.

"We intend, and we are, together with our partners throughout the interagency, to take a very close look at the information that was provided to us in written form, to cross-reference that information with what we may have in our own holdings, and from that we’ll form an informed judgment," Price said.