Israel outlaws Palestinian rights groups, alleging terrorism

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel has effectively outlawed six prominent Palestinian human rights groups by declaring them terrorist organizations. Friday’s declaration marks a major escalation of Israel’s decades-long crackdown on political activism in the occupied territories. It appeared to pave the way for Israel to raid their offices, seize assets, arrest staff and criminalize any public expressions of support for the groups. Israel says the groups are secretly linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a left-wing militant group that Israel and Western countries view as a terrorist organization. Israeli and international rights groups condemned the government’s declaration as an assault on civil society.