Over 150 groups demand international community stand against Israeli raids and closures of 7 Palestinian CSOs

Activists hang a poster in solidarity with outlawed Palestinian civil society organizations at the offices of one of them, the human rights group al-Haq, on August 18, 2022

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- More than 150 Palestinian, regional, and international organizations have expressed their full solidarity with the seven leading Palestinian civil society organizations raided and shut down recently by Israeli occupation.

On the morning of 18 August 2022, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raided and sealed the doorways into the offices of seven Palestinian organizations: Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man (Al-Haq), Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), Health Work Committees (HWC), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC).

The IOF also confiscated documents and equipment and destroyed items in the offices. On the doors of the organizations, military orders were left behind ordering the closure of the offices under Article 319 of the Emergency Regulations of 1945.

This development follows the 19 October 2021, Israeli War Minister Benny Gantz designation of six leading Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist organizations under Israel’s Anti-Terrorism Law (2016), which was then extended to the West Bank on 3 November 2021 by a military order that outlawed the same organizations.

In response, over 150 Palestinian, regional, and international groups have urged the international community to “unequivocally condemn Israel’s targeting of Palestinian civil society and tactics to further repress of freedom of expression.”

“States must take all necessary action to support and protect Palestinian human rights defenders and ensure the continuation of their invaluable work,” the groups said in a joint statement issued on Monday.

“These raids and closures represent the latest escalation in Israel’s widespread campaign aiming to silence and discredit any Palestinian individual or organization that dares to seek accountability for Israel’s grave human rights violations, war crimes, and crimes against humanity,” the groups added.

“The “persecution of organizations and persons, by depriving them of fundamental rights and freedoms, because they oppose apartheid” is a method used by Israel, amounting to acts of apartheid prosecutable under the Rome Statute, to maintain its domination and oppression over the Palestinian people.”

The organizations have also called upon the international community to demand that “Israel immediately revoke its designations of Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations as “terrorist organizations,” reverse the military orders designating the organizations and closing their offices and repeal its Anti-Terrorism Law (2016) as it does not meet basic human rights standards.”

Moreover, they have called on the “international community to take effective measures to end all other actions that deny Palestinians their inalienable human rights.”

Lastly, the groups have urged “the members of the international community to continue their support and increase funding to the organizations and engage with financial institutions to ensure the transfer of funds to the organizations.”

Human Rights Watch, Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem, Artists for Palestine UK, Asociacion Palestina Biladi, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, and Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid are among other signatories of the statement.

(Source / 23.08.2022)

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