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France Under Fire Over Human Rights Award To Anti-Israel Group With Terrorism Ties

France is being criticized for its decision to award a human rights prize to controversial Israeli NGO B’Tselem and its Ramallah-based partner al-Haq. The former, known for its fierce opposition to Israel’s military presence in the West Bank and frequent accusations of abuses by soldiers, repeatedly has been slammed by Jerusalem for its alleged pro-Palestinian bias. The latter is a leader in the anti-Israel boycott movement whose head has ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group. The two organizations are sharing one of the five French Republic Human Rights Award, which will be presented by France’s justice minister at a ceremony in Paris on December 10. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in October described B’Tselem as a “disgrace” and “full of lies” after the group’s director, Hagai El-Ad, denounced the Israel Defense Forces’ conduct in the West Bank during a briefing to the United Nations Security Council. Meanwhile, al-Haq director Shawan Jabarin was in 1985 convicted by an Israeli court of recruiting members of the PFLP. In response, Israeli Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren asserted that, “France gives its highest award to [the] B’Tselem and al-Haq organizations that accuse Israel of apartheid, delegitimize us internationally, defend terror, and support BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions]. The same France cannot claim that it fights antisemitism.”

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