Israel outlaws Palestinian rights groups, alleging terrorism

Israel-Palestinian Rights Groups

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel on Friday effectively outlawed six prominent Palestinian human rights groups by declaring them terrorist organizations, a major escalation of its decades-long crackdown on political activism in the occupied territories.

The declaration appeared to pave the way for Israel to raid their offices, seize assets, arrest staff and criminalize any public expressions of support for the groups. Most of the targeted organizations document alleged human rights violations by Israel as well as the Palestinian Authority, both of which routinely detain Palestinian activists.

Israeli and international rights groups condemned the move as an assault on civil society and expressed solidarity with the targeted organizations. Many noted that Israel already outlaws even peaceful political activities in the occupied West Bank. Palestinians want the territory — which Israel captured in the 1967 war — to form the main part of their future state.

The designated groups are Al-Haq, a human rights group founded in 1979, as well as the Addameer rights group, Defense for Children International-Palestine, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, the Union of Pales