International support pours in for Palestinian human rights groups facing Israeli persecution

Scores of rights groups have rejected attempts to delegitimize the Palestinian groups and called for greater international pressure on Israel to end its oppressive policies

August 23, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Palestinian groups persecution
Al-Haq's executive director Shawan Jabarin, next to Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh, speaks to the media after the Israeli army raided the offices of several Palestinian NGOs, Ramallah, the West Bank, August 18, 2022. (Photo: Oren Ziv)

Over 50 human and civil rights groups from across the world have expressed their support and solidarity with the six Palestinian human rights groups facing increasing repression from the Israeli occupation authorities. The solidarity statements rejected attempts to delegitimize the Palestinian groups and called for greater international pressure on Israel to end its oppressive policies.    

On Monday, more than 40 such organizations, mostly from Israel, issued a joint statement asserting that “human rights is not terrorism” and that Israeli allegations of terrorism against the Palestinian groups are “baseless.” Signatories of the statement claimed that the Palestinian organizations were targeted for their “documentation, advocacy and legal aid,” which “are core of human rights work around the world.” The statement said that “criminalizing such activities is a deplorable act characteristic of repressive regimes,” and called on the international community to pressure Israel to “revoke its decision.”     

The signatories of the statement include B’Tselem, Adalah, and Peace Now, among others. 

European Union (EU) ambassador to Israel Dimiter Tzantchev met with Israeli authorities on Monday and conveyed the EU’s objections to Israeli actions against the Palestinian human rights groups. 

Last year, Israel banned the activities of Al-Haq, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Organisation, Defence of Children International -Palestine (DCI-P), Bisan Centre for Research and Development, Union of Agricultural Works Committee and Union of Palestinian Women Committee. Israeli forces ransacked their offices last week. On Sunday, Israeli occupation forces threatened the heads of Al-Haq and DCI-P with imprisonment. 

The Israeli government alleges that these organizations are affiliated to the banned Palestinian resistance group, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Israel claims that these groups work as its recruitment centers. 

However, Israel has failed to produce any evidence in support of its allegations. Several European countries who fund these organizations have resumed their funding after conducting their own investigations that further discredited the Israeli allegations. 

On August 19, the International Network of Civil Liberties Organisation (INCLO) issued a statement in solidarity with the Palestinian human rights groups and dismissed Israeli allegations that they had links with terrorism. 

The INCLO statement underlined that “the work of human rights and civil society organizations is a key element in stopping and preventing human rights abuses, in particular among populations suffering from continuous and deep harm such as that caused by the Israeli oppressive regime.”  The statement was signed by groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, Liberty, and others.  

Palestinian groups have pointed out that growing international reception of their work in the occupied territories is one of the reasons for the Israeli attacks on them. Israel, which has been facing increasing criticism for its occupation of Palestinian territories – with some groups also calling it apartheid in the recent times – has increased its efforts to delegitimize the work of these organizations by “making claims about antisemitism and terrorism,” said DCI-P head Khaled Quzmar, reported +972 magazine. Quzmar was interrogated at Israel’s illegal base in Ofer in the occupied West Bank on Sunday.