• ACRI

Defense Minister’s Declaration – A Draconian Step Against Human Rights Organizations


The Defense Minister Benny Gantz
Photo by Yosi Zamir, Shatil-Stock

On October 22, 2021, the Defense Minister declared six Palestinian organizations that operate in the West Bank, terrorist organizations. The following is ACRI’s response:


"Among the organizations noted in the Defense Minister’s declaration, are long-standing and respected human rights organizations that have worked tirelessly over the course of many years to defend the rights of Palestinian residents, and bravely resist the injustices of the occupation. The declaration is based on confidential reports, and provides no evidence or proof of the weighty allegation. It critically harms human rights defenders and Palestinian civil society organizations, and seeks to silence those who work to protect their peoples’ rights in criticizing human rights violations by Israel and the Palestinian Authority alike. We stand in solidarity with the human rights organizations, and call on the Defense Minister to immediately withdraw his decision, which is difficult not to interpret as part of the Israeli authorities' ongoing de-legitimization campaign against human rights organizations."


ACRI has joined a long line of human rights organizations that stand in solidarity with Palestinian organizations. The following is the articulation of the announcement:


"The Minister of Defense's designation of prominent Palestinian civil society organizations, among them our colleagues in the Palestinian human rights community, as terrorist organizations, is a draconian measure that criminalizes critical human rights work. Documentation, advocacy, and legal aid are fundamental activities for the protection of human rights worldwide. Criminalizing such work is an act of cowardice, characteristic of dark and repressive authoritarian regimes. Civil society and human rights defenders must be protected. We stand in solidarity with our Palestinian colleagues, and call on members of the Israeli government and the international community to unequivocally oppose this decision.”


Signatory organizations: Mothers Against Violence | Bimkom - Planners for Planning Rights | B'Tselem | Gisha | The Association for Civil Rights in Israel | The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel | Parents Against Child Detention | HaMoked Center for the Defence of the Individual | Human Rights Defenders Fund | Zazim - Community Action | Haqel: In Defense of Human Rights | Yesh Din | Kerem Navot | Combatants for Peace | Mahsom Watch | Akevot Institute | Adalah | Standing Together | Ir Amim | Emek Shaveh | Worker’s Hotline | Physicians for Human Rights in Israel | Breaking the Silence | Rabbis for Human Rights | Peace Now