‘Israel’ raids offices of several Palestinian NGOs in occupied West Bank

Al-Haq said Israeli forces had shut down the main entrance of its offices in Ramallah with an iron plate and left behind a military order declaring the organisation unlawful

Occupied West Bank (QNN)- Israeli occupation forces raided the offices of several Palestinian civil society rights groups in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, mainly offices of the six groups outlawed last year by ‘Israel’.

Al-Haq group reported that Israeli soldiers had stormed its offices in Ramallah, confiscating items, shutting down the main entrance with an iron plate, and leaving behind a military order declaring the organisation unlawful.

Other groups raided included Addameer, the Bisan Center for Research & Development, Defense for Children International-Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.

In a tweet, Al-Haq said, “Out team arrived at Al-Haq’s offices this morning & found the door, which IOF had bolted shut early morning, had been opened by the public, protesting against the targeting of civil society organizations! We assure you, Israel’s arbitrary & unlawful actions will not silence us.”

The group added, “We have faith and trust in our partners, both civil society and Third States that they too will not be silent! Protecting human rights work in Palestine is a must, to defend and maintain independent non-governmental organisations and the rule of law! #standwiththe6”

In a move met with widespread condemnation, on 19 October 2021, Israeli War Minister, Benny Gantz, designated six leading Palestinian human rights and civil society groups as “terrorist organizations” under Israel’s domestic Counter-Terrorism (Anti-Terror) Law (2016).

The Israeli War Minister office claimed that the six groups were “part of a network of organisations operating undercover in the international arena” on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Marxist-Leninist Palestinian resistance group, which was listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation in 1997 by the US State Department.

The six groups are: Addameer, Al-Haq, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC).

The Israeli military commander also outlawed all the six groups under the 1945 Emergency (Defense) Regulations, declaring them “unlawful associations”.

Several UN human rights experts, civil society and development organizations, academics and more from around the world condemned, over the past months, Israel’s designations, standing in solidarity with the six Palestinian groups and increasing their support for the Palestinian cause.

In April, United Nations human rights experts urged the international community to resume funding for the Palestinian civil society groups.

“We call on the funding governments and international organisations to swiftly conclude that Israel has not established its allegations and to announce that they will continue to financially and politically support these organisations and the communities and groups they serve,” said the experts.

In July, in a joint statement, the Spokespersons of the Foreign Ministries of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden expressed their opposition to the Israeli designation of the six Palestinian civil society organisations.

The European states said in the statement, “Accusations of terrorism or links to terrorist groups must always be treated with the utmost seriousness. The designations needed therefore to be assessed carefully and extensively.”

“No substantial information was received from Israel that would justify reviewing our policy towards the six Palestinian NGOs on the basis of the Israeli decision to designate these NGOs as ‘terrorist organizations’.” “Should evidence be made available to the contrary, we would act accordingly,” the states stressed.

“In the absence of such evidence, we will continue our cooperation and strong support for the civil society in the oPT. A free and strong civil society is indispensable for promoting democratic values and for the two-state solution,” the states concluded the statement.

Following on the heels of the nine European states that rejected the controversial designation, Norway stated it will also continue to support the six Palestinian organizations, saying “in Norway’s view, the information we have received from Israel is not sufficient to justify the designation of the six organizations as ‘terrorist organizations.’ … Norway will continue its cooperation with and support to civil society in the occupied Palestinian territories.”

(Source / 19.08.2022)

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