EU leaders at a previous meeting in Granada (Anatolia)

Ninety-six rights organizations said that discriminatory restrictions imposed by European governments on funding for Palestinian civil society threaten to exacerbate the human rights crisis.

According to the organizations, the announcements by a number of European countries and the European Commission to restrict funding to Palestinian human rights organizations would further damage the credibility of the European Union, which "proclaims itself a leader in the field of human rights."

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In its letter to the EU and its member states, the organizations, including Amnesty International, expressed concern about the impact of these discriminatory measures on human rights.

"Human rights in Israel and the OPTs are already suffering from a deep crisis," she said, noting that Palestinian and Israeli organizations are doing crucial work to protect people's rights, with some acting as observers of the Israeli authorities' systematic violations of Palestinian rights, while others provide free legal representation to victims, without which justice would not have been achieved.

Yves Gedi, Amnesty International's Director for European Foundations, said restricting funding for Palestinian organisations alone "is discriminatory, silencing them by impeding their vital work and further depriving victims of any prospect of protection".

Several European countries, including Austria, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland, as well as the European Commission, have taken action to suspend or restrict their funding to Palestinian civil society organizations "on the basis of baseless allegations" that funding is being diverted to terrorist organizations or being used to "incite hatred and violence."

Islamophobic stereotypes

Such allegations serve to mobilize longstanding racist and Islamophobic stereotypes that portray Arab and Muslim peoples as suspects of violence and terrorism, the organizations said.

According to the organizations, it is essential that the EU and its member states combat all forms of racism and other forms of discrimination, including anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian racism, and take all necessary measures to prohibit advocacy of hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination or violence.

The groups added that adding "anti-incitement" clauses to the contracts of Palestinian organizations only and subjecting them to "third-party monitoring" reflects political positions, which is discriminatory and reinforces racist assumptions towards Palestinians and those who defend the human rights of Palestinians.

She noted, for example, that Sweden would ask future Palestinian partners to condemn Hamas, explaining that asking an organization to express such condemnation and make funding conditional on it "is an assault on the human rights to freedom of expression and association."

At the same time, despite outrageous calls for killing, forced displacement or the use of nuclear weapons against Palestinians by Israeli officials and NGOs, as well as repeated deadly attacks against civilians by Israeli forces and settlers, and even NGOs building illegal settlements in the OPT, including those condemned in Europe, "there are no similar requirements for Israeli organizations or government bodies cooperating with Sweden to condemn These crimes."

Such blatant double standards were not only discriminatory, but also demonstrated a disturbingly selective approach to human rights issues.

Source: Amnesty International