Days of Palestine

Wednesday, May 31

Israeli Knesset approves law hindering NGO’s work

Days of Palestine -

Days of Palestine, Jerusalem -Israeli Knesset approved on Monday controversial law, basically hindering work of Israeli human rights NGOs.

The law, known as ‘Transparency Bill,’ was introduced by the far-right Israeli Justice Minister Aylet Shaked. It passed the second and third readings by a 57-48 vote.

It will require Israeli NGOs to reveal information about overseas donations if more than half their funding comes from foreign governments or bodies such as the EU.

At first, the law required that the representatives of these NGOs to wear identification tags when they attend Knesset meetings. This article was dropped before the approval.

Practically, the law affects Arab or Jewish human rights groups, who defend Palestinian human rights and expose Israeli crimes against the Palestinians.

According to the Israeli news website Ynet News, there are more than 30,000 NGOs registered in Israel, about half of them active.

Around 70 of those groups deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and receive funds either from the EU as a whole, or individual member governments, including Denmark, Sweden and Belgium, as well as non-member Norway.

“I expect countries (to) … try to influence Israel in a diplomatic path and not by funding millions of dollars or euros to NGOs that usually try to promote their views,” Shaked told Reuters on Monday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has strongly supported the legislation, describing it as “democratic and necessary.”

Opposition MK Nachman Shai of the Zionist Union party said: “We will pay for this damage for many generations.”

“The NGO law … is indicative, more than anything, of the budding fascism creeping into Israeli society,” opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) told reporters hours before the vote.