Saeb Erekat, Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), called upon the European Union, on Friday, to reconsider its new conditions for funding Palestinian civil society organizations, calling for fair and equal access for all, the Palestinian News and Info Agency (WAFA) reported.
Erekat’s call came in response to recently approved measures by the EU which stipulate the signing of so-called anti-terrorism clauses and policies as a prerequisite for Palestinian NGOs to obtain funding. These policies include labeling a number of Palestinian political and resistance factions as terror groups.
In an official letter to European Union Minister for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, Erekat said the new funding conditions binding to all contracting parties to the European Union, raise concern among Palestinian NGOs, especially civil society organizations that serve the Palestinian public without discrimination and in line with international legal standards.
He pointed out that among the organizations included in the EU blacklist are Palestinian political parties, which means that the conditions are aimed at disrupting Palestinian political and civil activity, which places a new burden on Palestinian institutions.
“These restrictions directly affect the Palestinian rights under international law, and in particular the right to self-determination. They are not in line with the European Union’s commitment to a two-state solution, peace and stability in the region,” Erekat said.
He added that the newly approved conditions come at a time of heated anti-Palestinian campaign by the United States and Israel, with the goal of liquidating the collective rights of the Palestinian people.
Erekat stressed that the Palestinians reject all attempts to criminalize their legitimate national struggle and brand it as “terrorism“. He implored the European Union to cancel the new financing conditions and recognize the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Edited for IMEMC: Ali Salam