“The new bill backed by the Israeli government last Sunday represents another link in the chain of anti-democratic legislation which aims to curtail the work of Israeli NGOs and reduce democratic freedom inside Israel itself”, says the Italian Peace Association commenting the bill voted by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation of the Israeli Parliament intended to set monetary limitations on foreign funding to Israeli civil society organizations.

According to this bill, an Israeli NGO would not be allowed to receive donations of more than 20.000 NIS (approximately 4000 euros) per year from “foreign state entities”.

“It is an anti-democratic law – says Luisa Morgantini, former Vice President of the European Parliament and spokesperson of the Italian Peace Association – which limits the work and the activities of NGOs: these organizations are of vital importance to Israel because representing an active and vibrant civil society while criticizing Israeli government policies against Palestinians as well as against other minorities in Israel itself”.

“This bill – declares Luisa Morgantini – crashes against European Union programmes that since years have promoted Israeli human rights organizations’ activities: in 2010 only, EU funds are around 1,8 millions of euros. Once again Netanyahu’s government shows its dangerous actions: while continuing colonising the occupied Palestinian territories, they want to limit freedom of their own citizens and to silence those organizations which make Israel a better country”.

According to a second bill, funding from foreign state entities to Israeli NGOs will be subject to a 45% taxation rate. “Targeting foreign funding – says Italian Peace Association – is a clear way to restrict Israeli organizations actions: this is part of a strategy aimed to silence civil society and human rights organization. A vibrant civil society debating critical questions in Israel, as well as in Italy or anywhere else, is an essential part any country.

Israeli NGOs are legally registered and recognized by government stakeholders, they respect and promote transparency principles. Curtailing their work represents a limitation to the activities carried out in Israel by third countries such as the EU”.

The Italian Peace Association supports the urgent appeal made by the Israeli civil society organizations to the international community, protesting against any attack on freedom of speech. We request that such crashes statement will be made by EU and we call on the EU to suspend the EU-Israel Association agreement.


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