Israel issued a statement Monday condemning the accreditation for NGO status of an organization that is allegedly linked with the terror group Hamas.
According to the statement, the Britain-based Palestinian Return Centre promotes "anti-Israel propaganda in Europe," Reuters reports. Israel considers PRC as a "coordinating wing of Hamas in Europe," saying that some of its members are top ranking officials of the terror group.
"Until today, the U.N. has given Hamas discounts and let it strengthen its activities," said Israel's U.N. ambassador Ron Prosor. He added that by approving PRC's NGO status, the U.N. has given Hamas "a welcoming celebration at its main entrance, allowing it to be a full participant," the Times of Israel reports.
PRC is an academic and media consultancy organization that focuses on researching and monitoring issues about dispersed Palestinians or refugees and their right to return to their homeland. The group is affiliated with the Muslim Council of Britain, which often functions in coordination with U.K. Muslim Brotherhood groups.
In 2011, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center gave a report detailing PRC's affiliation with Hamas.
"Senior PRC figures send flotillas and convoys to the Gaza Strip and transfer funds to Hamas," the report stated. It also said that PRC has hosted Ismail Haniyeh, a senior leader of Hamas, and other Hamas leaders at their annual conferences, according to the Times of Israel.
The approval for PRC to have consultative status was given by a 19-member U.N. committee on nongovernmental organizations. Twelve countries voted yes, including China, Pakistan, Cuba and Turkey, while three voted no - Israel, U.S., and Uruguay. Burundi was not present while Russia, India and Greece abstained.
An NGO with a consultative status can have access to U.N. facilities and can participate in many U.N. conferences and events.
PRC has denied ties with Hamas and said that Israel's accusations have no basis. The group issued a counter statement to Israel in its website, saying it is "not affiliated to any Palestinian party including Hamas," according to Reuters.
The group said Israel is merely trying to "distort and mislead" the member states of the committee. PRC said that it will give a letter of protest to U.N. against Israel's false claims.
The U.S. and British missions to the U.N. both have not yet given their response regarding the statement issued by Israel. A spokesman from the U.N. said they are leaving the member states to comment on the issue since they were the ones who voted for the decision.