Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbasצילום: רויטרס

The Palestine Liberation Organization on Sunday designated two Israeli nongovernmental groups as terrorist entities in an apparent reprisal over a similar move made by Israel, Israel Hayom reported Monday.

Last week Defense Minister Benny Gantz outlawed six Palestinian groups affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, designating them as terrorist organizations.

The PFLP is considered by several countries to be a terrorist entity, including Israel, the United States and the European Union.

The move against the groups was slammed by the Palestinian Authority and international human rights organizations as "a major escalation of its decades-long crackdown on political activism in the occupied territories," and equally criticized by the US and the EU.

Sunday saw PLO-affiliated workers unions slap a similar designation on the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor and Regavim organizations, citing their "collaboration with the Shin Bet [security agency] and the government of the occupation."

NGO Monitor is a watchdog group that analyzes and reports on the output of the international NGO community from a pro-Israel perspective. Regavim is a right-wing NGO that monitors illegal Palestinian building in Area C of Judea and Samaria and pursued legal action to stop it.

A joint statement by the Palestinian groups further urged all international institutions and NGOs to sever ties with both groups.

While it is doubtful the PLO's designation would affect NGO Monitor and Regavim's operations, but it reflects the Palestinian's anger over Gantz's move.

"Wait, does this mean we now qualify for EU funds?" NGO Monitor quipped in a tweet following the PLO's announcement, alluding to the fact that the groups recently outlawed by Israel receive donations from various European institutions.

Regavim, for its part, said it was "proud to be called a 'terrorist organization' by the Palestinian Authority.

"Paying salaries to convicted terrorists who murdered hundreds of men, women, and children is an act of terror. Legal, media, and parliamentary action with aim of exposing these terrorist groups and their scheme to illegally seize Israeli lands is civilian activism," the group said, further pledging to continue with its work.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, leader of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, issued a statement saying, "The 'Palestinian' declaration is meaningless. Those who are defined as terrorist organizations are the PA organizations whose goal is to exterminate the State of Israel and the terrorist Palestinian Authority that sees Israel as the enemy. Any declaration they make is ridiculous," he proclaimed.