Israel and France signed a deal Wednesday to combat the emergence of an ultra-nationalist terror group operating in Europe that the United Nations Security Council has described as a threat to regional security.
The three-page document was signed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and French Foreign Minister Emmanuel Macron.
It is intended to strengthen Israel’s security cooperation with France and to provide an alternative to the United States, which has been pushing the bloc to adopt a ban on terrorist groups and other groups that threaten Israel’s sovereignty.
The deal, announced in Brussels, also allows Israel to send an additional $500 million to France for “humanitarian assistance.”
The deal is expected to be signed later this month.
France has been among Israel’s most vocal critics of the Palestinian group, which is known as Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which the West Bank-based group has blamed for attacks on Israeli security forces and civilians.
The United States has called for the European Union to adopt tougher measures against PFLP, including a ban that would prohibit the group from operating.
But Lieberman, in a statement, praised the agreement with France as “a concrete step toward a more effective counter-terrorism cooperation.”
“It is not only a sign of friendship, but also an affirmation of Israel’s support for France,” Lieberman said.
“We will continue to work closely with our European partners, particularly France, to build a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy that is in line with the spirit of our common values, which are democracy, human rights and respect for the rule of law.”
Israel is concerned that PFLM, which was established in 1994, has become more radical and committed to violence, with some of its members now linked to al-Qaeda and others fighting for the Islamic State group.
The European Union has also been working with Israel to prevent a similar development from taking place in Europe, with the EU now pushing for the bloc’s leaders to ban the group.
Earlier this year, the European Commission launched an investigation into PFLA and its leaders, after a leaked video emerged showing PFLB members using an anti-Semitic chant at a demonstration in Paris in March.
The video sparked an outcry and condemnation from Israel, which said it believed the group was responsible for a series of terror attacks in France and the Netherlands in the years since its formation.
Israel has repeatedly condemned the group’s activities, including its claim to have ties with al-Qaida and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In recent years, however, the organization has become a less prominent presence in France, and a ban by the European Parliament on PFL is set to take effect on Jan. 1.
The agreement with Israel and the United Kingdom comes after the European Council agreed last month to consider a resolution that would ban PFL from using the European financial system.
The proposal was backed by European Union nations and has been backed by the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Turkey.
But the resolution, which would require a three-fourths majority vote, has been opposed by some countries, including France, which opposes the move.
Israel is expected not to sign the EU-wide resolution, since the bloc would not allow Israel to use its financial system, said Israeli security expert Dan Shulman, who has been closely following the negotiations.
Israel’s position on the EU resolution is similar to that of the United State, which also opposed the EU proposal.
“The United Kingdom, France and Germany are in the same boat,” Shulmann said.
“It’s very important that Israel not be isolated from Europe in this regard, that they all work together.”
The EU and Israel have also been discussing ways to strengthen the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian branch of Hamas, the Islamic group that is allied with al Qaeda and is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S., the European council and Israel.
The Palestinians have been struggling with a lack of international recognition, including an international conference to mark the 60th anniversary of the Nakba, or catastrophe, that was caused by Israel’s conquest of the West Indies.
The Palestinian Authority has been struggling to gain recognition as a sovereign entity, and to gain the legitimacy to operate.
France and the U,S., France’s ally, are in talks with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) to forge a comprehensive peace agreement between the two sides, but Israel has not participated in those negotiations.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Paris last month, has expressed disappointment that Israel is not participating in the negotiations as well as other key issues.
“I hope that they will take into account the importance of the PLO and the importance for Israel of having a peace agreement with the Palestinians,” Fabius said Wednesday.
The French government is expected also to sign a deal to support Israel in its efforts to curb the growth of terror groups in Europe.
Israel has been seeking a U.N. Security Council resolution against terror groups since a 2014