Palestinian civil society organizations in Israel yesterday rejected in a joint statement Israel’s designation one year ago of six leading Palestinian human rights and civil society groups as “terrorist organizations”, demanding that Israel rescind the designation.
In August 2022, the Israel Military Commander in the West Bank rejected an objection challenging the military’s own decision to outlaw the groups – Addameer, Al-Haq, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC) – without disclosing any evidence it allegedly holds to justify the decision.
The United States and the European Union found Israel’s allegations unconvincing given Israel’s failure to provide evidence for the designations and its denial of basic due process to the organizations. In July 2022, ten European states issued a public statement rejecting Israel’s “terror” designations and declaring their continued support and funding to these organizations. Several UN human rights experts have also condemned Israel’s attacks on the six.
Despite the heavy international censure, in the year since the designations, the Israeli army has taken various punitive measures against the six organizations. The Israeli military placed travel bans on several of the organizations’ directors and other staff members and prevented them from traveling abroad, and raided, vandalized, and sealed off the offices of the organizations. The organizations’ staff and supporters remain under constant threat of harassment and persecution.
“We, the undersigned representatives of Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations in Israel, reject Israel’s attempt to delegitimize and silence organizations that are trying to hold it accountable internationally for its human rights violations, including war crimes, against Palestinians,” said the signatories to the joint statement.
“We will continue to cooperate with our Palestinian partner organizations to defend Palestinian rights, and we call on the international community and all states to take immediate steps to defend the organizations and their vital human rights and humanitarian work, including by:
● Demanding that the Israeli government rescind the designations;
● Taking concrete measures to protect the organizations, their board and staff members from further punitive measures by Israel;
● Continuing to support and fund these organizations, and engage with financial institutions to ensure the transfer of funds to the six organizations;
● Stepping up efforts to cooperate with the organizations and publicly defend them.
The signed organizations include: Kayan Feminist Organization, Al-Tufula Center – The Nazareth Nurseries Institute, Baladna – The Association for Arab Youth, The Alumni Association of Russian and Soviet Union Universities, The Arab Culture Association (ACA), The Arab Center for Alternative Planning (ACAP), Tishreen Association, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Women Against Violence, 7amleh – The Arab Center for Social Media Advancement, Intimaa W Ataa, and The Galilee Society – The Arab National Society for Health Research and Services