On Tuesday, Minister for Asia Amanda Milling refused to condemn Israel’s designation of six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist groups. Responding to Labour MP Marsha De Cordova’s concern that Israel’s move represents ‘a clear attempt to silence the peaceful defence of Palestinians’ rights’, Milling said this was ‘a matter for the government of Israel’. Milling’s failure to condemn this attack on Palestinian civil society is the most recent development in the British Government’s increasing complicity in Israeli apartheid.
In October, Israel designated six important Palestinian NGOs as terrorist groups, a move criticised by UN experts as an ‘attack… on human rights everywhere’ and by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch as ‘appalling and unjust’. The targeted Palestinian civil society organisations report human rights violations, strengthen democracy and protect women, children and farmers in occupied Palestine.
Milling’s comments are further evidence of the culture of impunity that continues to surround Israel’s actions. Last week, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announced a 10-year trade and defence deal with Israel, pledging that Britain will ‘work closer’ with the apartheid state. A fortnight ago, Leader of the Opposition Keir Starmer pledged to ‘strengthen’ ties between Britain and Israel, ignoring calls from his own party to impose sanctions on Israel.
In a year that has seen Israeli policies labelled ‘apartheid and persecution’, Milling’s failure to condemn Israel’s most recent attack on Palestinian civil society is hugely concerning. Call on the British Government to stand up for Palestinian rights by joining the #StandWithThe6 campaign and ask your MP to unreservedly condemn Israel’s designation of Palestinian human rights defenders as terrorist groups by releasing a statement of support with the six organisations.