Bennett, Sullivan talk Iran, Palestinian NGOs

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke for a half-hour on Monday night about Iran and the Palestinian NGOs deemed terror organizations last week.

 Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the cabinet meeting, October 17, 2021.  (photo credit: ALEX KOLOMOISKY / POOL)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the cabinet meeting, October 17, 2021.
(photo credit: ALEX KOLOMOISKY / POOL)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone Monday night to discuss Iran and the Palestinians.

The half-hour conversation came as Iran has signaled a willingness to resume negotiations to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, which the US seeks to do, as well. Israel opposes the agreement, arguing that it does not sufficiently limit Iran’s nuclear program, does not last long enough and does not address the Islamic Republic’s other malign actions in the region.

The Biden administration and France, Germany and the UK, all parties to the Iran deal, released a statement at the G20 in Rome on Saturday, condemning Tehran’s advanced uranium enrichment and calling for a return to diplomacy.

In recent weeks, the Biden administration has criticized Israel for advancing plans to build thousands of homes in Judea and Samaria, as well as for banning six Palestinian NGOs due to their ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), designated a terrorist group by the US, EU and others.

Bennett and Sullivan discussed the NGO decision, but a diplomatic source denied that settlements were a topic of conversation.

 US national security adviser Jake Sullivan takes part in a news briefing about the situation in Afghanistan at the White House in Washington, US, August 17, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/LEAH MILLIS) US national security adviser Jake Sullivan takes part in a news briefing about the situation in Afghanistan at the White House in Washington, US, August 17, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/LEAH MILLIS)

Last week, the Biden administration denied twice that they knew Israel planned to proscribe the six Palestinian organizations, even though the Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry said they had informed their US counterparts two days before it was announced.

The NGOs designated as part of the PFLP are Addameer, Al Haq, Bisan Center, Defense for Children International-Palestine, Union Of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.

In 2019, PFLP members planted a bomb, killing 17-year-old Rina Shnerb and wounding her relatives.

UAWC finance and administration director Abdul Razeq Farraj was indicted in October 2019 on four counts, including for aiding an attempt to cause death in the terrorist attack on the Shnerb family.

Farraj’s indictment cited Ubai Aboudi, a PFLP member who was working with Farraj on recruitment and was the UAWC monitoring and evaluation officer until April 2019.

Samer Arbid, an accountant for UAWC at the time of his 2019 arrest, was the commander of the PFLP terrorist cell that prepared and detonated the bomb.