The Israeli Government Continues to Persecute Palestinian NGOs.
On October 22, 2021, the Minister of Defense declared six Palestinian organizations operating in the West Bank as terrorist organizations. Below is the response of the Association for Civil Rights:
Among the organizations announced by the Minister of Defense, there are veteran and respected human rights organizations that have been working tirelessly for many years to protect the rights of the Palestinian residents and fight bravely against the injustices of the occupation. The announcement is based on confidential reports and does not provide evidence or proof of the serious accusation. It seriously harms the defenders of human rights and Palestinian civil society organizations and seeks to silence those who work to protect the rights of their people and who criticize human rights violations by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority. We stand with the human rights groups and call on the Minister of Defense to immediately reverse his decision, which it's hard not to see as a continuation of the Israeli government's campaign to delegitimize these groups.
In November 2021, ACRI joined a long line of human rights organizations that stand in solidarity with Palestinian organizations and released a joint statement:
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 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 oppose this decision unequivocally.
Adalah | Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research | B’Tselem | Bimkom – Planners for Planning rights | Breaking the Silence Combatants for Peace | Emek Shaveh | Gisha | Hamoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual | Haqel – In Defense of Human Rights | Human Rights Defenders Fund | Ir Amim | Kav Laoved - Worker’s Hotline | Kerem Navot | Machsom Watch | | Mothers Against Violence | Parents Against Child Detention | Peace Now | Physicians for Human Rights Israel | Rabbis for Human Rights | Standing together | The Association for Civil Rights in Israel | The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel | Yesh Din | Zazim – Community Action
On August 18, 2022, following the rejection of the appeal against the Military Commander’s declaration of prominent Palestinian human rights NGO’s as terrorist organizations and the consequent move made by the Minister of Defense to reconfirm 3 NGO’s as terrorist organizations, the army invaded the offices of the NGOs overnight, confiscated equipment, and welded the doors shut. This is a prime example of the political persecution conducted by Israel against Palestinians who speak out against the occupation.
Even after nine European countries who fund these NGOs rejected Israel’s claims following their examinations of the materials transferred to them, Israel continues its persecution campaign in reconfirming the declaration, raiding the offices of the NGOs, and confiscating documents, all without evidence or proof of the serious accusations leveled against the NGOs.
On August 23, 2022, the Guardian published that the CIA did not find any evidence that support the Minister of Defense's declaration.
The work of human rights and civil society organizations is of utmost importance in any society, and in particular among populations suffering from continuous and deep harm such as that caused by the Israeli occupation.
ACRI, alongside 12 of the world's most important civil society organizations published a statement in solidarity with our colleagues and friends in the Palestinian human rights organizations and call on Israel to desist with the persecution campaign against them.