Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened to cancel his meeting Tuesday with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel if he meets with representatives of two Israeli human rights organizations criticizing the government.
An Israeli official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP, “Netanyahu threatened to cancel the meeting if he met with the organizations Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem.
“Breaking the Silence” monitors violations by the Israeli army in the occupied Palestinian territories, while B’Tselem is active in documenting attacks and defending human rights, and has strongly opposed the construction of Israeli settlements.
The cancellation of the meeting between Netanyahu and Gabriel is a rare step, but it is in line with the right-wing Israeli government’s position on human rights organizations.
“We are told by the Israeli media that Prime Minister Netanyahu, whom I met repeatedly, wants to cancel this meeting just because we meet with critical representatives of civil society,” Gabriel told German public television.
“It is difficult to imagine that this will happen, because it will be very unfortunate,” he said. “It is normal for our visits abroad to meet with representatives of civil society,” he said. “We can not imagine that we will cancel a meeting with Netanyahu during a visit to Germany if Met with critics of the German government. ”
Last July, the Israeli parliament passed a law forcing non-governmental organizations, which receive the bulk of their funding from foreign governments, to officially declare the funding, in a move interpreted as targeting leftist organizations critical of the government, notably “breaking the silence” and ” (B’Tselem).
In February, Israel reprimanded the Belgian ambassador after a meeting between the Prime Minister of Belgium and two left-wing Israeli organizations during his visit to Israel