Italy is looking more closely at the role of privately-funded rescue operations that have been plucking migrants from the seas off Libya and into the possibility that there may be collusion between smugglers and some of the rescuers. A Sicilian prosecutor has told the news agency AFP that the cost and sophistication of the rescue operations had attracted attention. “There is an abnormal proliferation of NGOs [Non-Government Organisations] operating “ said Carmelo Zuccaro, Catania’s prosecutor, “I’m not talking about the big, prestigious organisations, but all the small ones that seem to have sophisticated hardware, such as drones” Zuccaro said that in 2013 his office had begun its own monitoring of migrant trafficking. Because of their expensive equipment and its interest in their sources of funding, it had now started to check NGOs for any links with the smugglers. It seems clear that the European border security force Frontex has been watching the movement of rescue vessels just as it has been seeking to monitor the trafficking gangs that have been launching migrants from the coast of western Libya. Such observation will have included the interception of radio traffic.
MK Amir Ohana (Likud) submitted on Monday morning a law cancelling the National Service positions in NGOs whose main funding is provided by foreign governments. Most of these organizations are leftist. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed support for Ohana’s law. The new law would put an end to the trend of anti-Israel organizations receiving National Service volunteers who are paid by the government. As well, it attempts to ensure no National Service positions are given to organizations, which will threaten Israel in the international and political battles by using their foreign funded money to promote foreign governments’ interests at Israel’s expense.