Ramallah: The Palestinian Authority and the United Nations have condemned an Israeli military order decreeing six prominent Palestinian human rights groups as terrorist organisations, Al Jazeera reported.
According to the Israeli Ministry of Defence, the groups have links with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which is a left-wing movement with a political party. The PFLP is also reported to have an armed force that is said to have involved many deadly attacks against Israelis.
The Ministry alleges that the humanitarian groups have undercover networks with international groups on behalf of the Popular Front and the senior leaders of the PFLP are active at its terror works.
The allegation Israel has on these humanitarian groups include financing the PFLP of being the central source to garner large sums of money from European countries and international organisations, the accusation where the authority failed to produce an elaborative report.
The designated groups include Al-Haq, a human rights group founded in 1979, the Addameer rights group, Defence for Children International-Palestine, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, the Union of Palestinian Women's Committees and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees.
The PA condemned what it said was an "unhinged assault" on Palestinian civil society.
"This fallacious and libellous slander is a strategic assault on Palestinian civil society and the Palestinian people's fundamental right to oppose Israel's illegal occupation and expose its continuing crimes," it said.
Meanwhile, the US Department of State said that it had no prior information from Israel about designating these groups.
In a joint statement, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch noted that the military order "effectively outlaws" the activities of the six groups.
As a consequence, Israeli security forces are authorised to close the groups' offices, seize their assets and arrest and jail their staff members. Funding or even publicly expressing support for their activities is also prohibited.
"This appalling and unjust decision is an attack by the Israeli government on the international human rights movement," Amnesty and HRW said.