Knesset approves law on NGO monitoring. Targets groups critical of occupation in the Palestinian Territories
The text is passed at first reading, with 50 votes in favor and 43 against. Now it must pass a second and third step, prior to final approval. Critics say it affects the leftist movements struggling against the occupation in the territories and violence against Palestinians. For the government needed to fight against foreign interference.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Israeli parliament last night voted on a controversial bill, according to which international NGOs active in the area will have to make public the loans received from foreign governments. Critics say the law would favor some sort of witch hunt against leftist progressive groups and organizations who are fighting for the rights of Palestinians.
The Knesset approved the text - which has already raised heavy criticism in the international community - late at night, with 50 votes in favor and 43 against out of a total of 120 MPs.
Now the draft will have to pass a second and third reading, before final approval and entry into force.
The draft has been vigorously promote by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which has long targeted NGOs struggling against the occupation of Palestinian territories by Israel and for the upholding of human rights.
The Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, a member of the Zionist Jewish religious party, emphasizes that the norm is not intended to affect any organization and NGOs in particular. Instead, it will promote transparency and will serve in the fight against "foreign interference" and attempts to "delegitimize" the State of Israel.
In reality, it targets leftist NGOs because other NGOs - the reference is to the right wing movements that support the government - benefit especially from private donations, most of them from wealthy American businessmen of Jewish origin.
Among the movements that could fall victim to the law are the peace movement "Peace Now" (which receives EU funds), "B'Tselem" active in defending human rights in the territories, and even "Breaking The Silence", which collects evidence of Israeli soldiers involved in abuse and violence against Palestinians.