The Israeli occupation forces closed on Thursday, August 18th, 2022, seven human rights and civil institutions in the cities of Ramallah and Al-Bireh, that document and witness the crimes of the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people, in an attempt to silence them and discourage them from continuing their work.
BREAKING ? The Israeli occupation forces raided UAWC’s office early this morning 18th of August, as well as the offices of the other #6organizations. They destroyed office equipment, confiscated materials and left a closing order behind. pic.twitter.com/hVaHrRIaKS
— Union of Agricultural Work Committees (@UAWC1986) August 18, 2022
Addameer for Prisoner Care and Human Rights, the International Movement for the Defense of Children – Palestine, Al-Haq, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, the Health Work Committees, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, and the Bisan Center for Research and Development are institutions that seek to preserve and respect human rights and document violations committed by the Israeli occupation forces.
The closure process followed the decision of the Minister of the occupation army, Benny Gantz, yesterday, Wednesday, to classify the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, Addamer, and Beisan as “terrorist”, and to ban them permanently. The three institutions are among the 6 institutions that Gantz banned in October 2021, classified as “ terrorist organizations,” according to the so-called “Anti-Terrorism Law” issued in 2016, based on information provided by the so-called “Associations Monitor” organization, known for its hardline positions and direct incitements against Palestinian institutions.
In order to confront Israel’s decision to classify 6 institutions as “terrorist”, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants sent letters to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, the President of the Security Council, the European Union, the Human Rights Council, and various international and UN organizations, in which the Foreign Ministry called on the international community not to allow this blatant assault to without consequences, stressing that the classification of civil society organizations is an attempt to intimidate them and silence their reports that expose the violations of the Israeli occupation and called for it to condemn and reject it
Subsequently, 9 European countries refused to classify Israel’s 6 Palestinian institutions as “terrorist ” due to the absence of evidence to prove these allegations, stressing that they want to continue “cooperating” with these institutions.
Spokespersons for the foreign ministries of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden explained in a joint statement that Israel has designated six Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist organizations, but it has not received “any information.” An important task from Israel to justify its retreat from its policy towards these organizations.”
They added: “Accusations of terrorism or links to terrorist groups must be taken as seriously as possible, without any exception, so it was essential that we examine these classifications carefully and in an in-depth manner,” and concluded by saying that “the existence of a free and strong civil society is essential to promoting democratic values and the two-state solution.”
Who are these institutions and what do they do?
The following is an overview of the closed institutions according to their website:
ADDAMEER (Arabic for conscience) Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association is a Palestinian non-governmental, civil institution that works to support Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons. Established in 1991 by a group of activists interested in human rights, the center offers free legal aid to political prisoners, advocates their rights at the national and international level, and works to end torture and other violations of prisoners’ rights through monitoring, legal procedures and solidarity campaigns.
Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) is an independent, local Palestinian child rights organization committed to securing a just future for Palestinian children in the occupied territories. It has worked for more than twenty years in providing support to this group and advocating for its rights by investigating and documenting grave violations against human rights and holding the Israeli and Palestinian authorities responsible for committing such violations, and providing legal services to children who are in urgent need of it. It is one of the branches of the international coalition of the movement Global Defense for Children , which has more than fifty branches around the world and an international secretariat in the Swiss city of Geneva.
Al -Haq Association: It is a Palestinian, non-governmental and independent human rights association, based in Ramallah. It was established in 1979 by a group of Palestinian lawyers with the aim of consolidating the principle of the rule of law, and promoting the preservation and respect of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory. Al-Haq was registered as a non-profit company under the Jordanian law that was in force in the Palestinian Territory at that time. At the beginning of 2004, the legal status of the right was amended, as it was liquidated as a non-profit company and re-registered as a civil association subject to the Palestinian laws and regulations governing NGOs and charitable organizations .
Union of Agricultural Work Committees: It is a private, non-governmental agricultural institution, registered in the Palestinian Ministry of Interior in accordance with the Palestinian Non-Governmental Associations and Institutions Law. It is considered one of the largest agricultural development institutions in Palestine, which was established in 1986 at the initiative of a group of agricultural engineers. The volunteers are fully charged, so that they formed agricultural committees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that work to determine the priority of farmers, and help the institution in implementing its programs and community activities .
Health Work Committees: a progressive Palestinian civil institution working in health and community development in the Palestinian Territory with a human rights perspective, through the provision of health care services and building development models for all segments of society, especially the poor and marginalized, and lobbying and advocacy with the aim of influencing policies and legislation, leading to a free democratic society enjoying citizens of their social rights.
The Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees: It is a progressive, grassroots feminist organization, founded in 1980, that struggles to build a civil, democratic, progressive Palestinian society free of all forms of discrimination in pursuit of justice. The Union aims to improve the status of Palestinian women and empower them to ensure true equality between men and women and social justice for all segments of society. It struggles side by side with all Arab and international progressive movements against the aggressiveness of globalization and against all forms of discrimination and injustice against any social group in the world, particularly women.
Bisan Center for Research and Development: It is a non-profit, non-profit, democratic, progressive civil institution, founded in 1989 and officially registered with the Palestinian Ministry of Interior in 2004. Bisan works to strengthen the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and to contribute to building a democratic, progressive, effective, and influential Palestinian civil society.