16 UK-based NGOs condemn the Israeli Government’s shocking decision

JVL Introduction

We reposted a Ha’aretz editorial yesterday, bitterly condemning the Israeli government’s attack on respected Palestinian civil society organisations, labeling them as “terrorist” .

Over seven hundred members signed an Academia for Equality statement making clear that “these six organizations constitute the civil spinal cord of the Palestinian society” and called on the wider Israeli and international academic communities to take a stand.

16 UK-based humanitarian, development, human rights and faith organisations join in the chorus of outrage at this latest Israeli action.


Statement

(26 October, 2021): 16 UK-based humanitarian, development, human rights and faith organisations working to support the rights and welfare of the Palestinian people condemn the Israeli Government’s shocking decision to declare six Palestinian civil society groups as ‘terrorist organisations’. We call on the International Community to publicly reject this move to obstruct the essential work of these organisations, and to continue supporting them.

On 19 October 2021, the Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz declared six Palestinian civil society groups as ‘terrorist organisations’. The six include some of the most well-established Palestinian human rights organisations working in the occupied Palestinian territory including Addameer, which provides legal services to Palestinian detainees and prisoners held within Israel’s military detention system; Al-Haq, a human rights organisation that has been internationally recognised for its work – including receiving the 2018 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic; and Defence for Children International – Palestine, a child rights organisation that protects and promotes the rights of Palestinian children living in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. These organisations have long and well-established partnerships between international humanitarian and human rights groups, such as Amnesty International, Oxfam, War on Want and Save the Children. The risk of operations ending for some of those organisations, is an attack on human rights and will leave Palestinian children and others unable to access adequate and essential services.

The organisations targeted fulfil crucial roles in civil society, such as:

  • Providing health care to the most vulnerable communities and sections of Palestinian society;
  • Organising legal support to people arrested and detained in the occupied Palestinian territory, including children;
  • Conducting crucial research and local programming to promote gender justice, right to health, and other broader civil society and human rights issues;
  • Monitoring, collecting evidence of, and reporting human rights violations committed by Israeli and Palestinian authorities in the occupied Palestinian territory.

This announcement follows years of relentless delegitimization of civil society groups who seek to expose and end human rights violations. Groups such as Al-Haq and Addameer are critical of human rights abuses conducted both by the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority. We note that according to the UN Human Rights Office in the occupied Palestinian territory, last Friday’s decision published by the National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing of Israel “lists extremely vague or irrelevant reasons, including entirely peaceful and legitimate activities such as provision of legal aid and ‘promoting of steps against Israel in the international arena’ ”. We are concerned about the impact this decision will have on children and Palestinians across the occupied Palestinian territory.

The UK Government has committed to supporting human rights defenders around the world, and has called for the government of Israel to “fully respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of human rights defenders and organisations and to allow them to freely operate in Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories”. Alongside other governments, it must now take urgent practical steps to reiterate its public support to Palestinian human rights defenders and humanitarian and development organisations.

Signatories:

ABCD Bethlehem
Amos Trust
Amnesty International UK
CAABU (Council for Arab-British Understanding)
Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD)
Christian Aid
Embrace the Middle East
Friends of Nablus and Surrounding Areas (FONSA)
Interpal
Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR)
Medical Aid for Palestinians
Oxfam GB
Quakers in Britain
Sabeel-Kairos UK
Save the Children UK
War on Want

 

Comments (5)

  • Jack T says:

    There are many Palestinian Civil Society groups and organisations, one of which is ‘Youth Against Settlements’ in Hebron, founded by Issa Amro. Fortunately it has not yet been banned. Issa has received many awards for his peaceful activism but nonetheless he has been punished by both Israel and the PA. He is now in the UK and will be speaking at the ‘Casa’ Hope Street, Liverpool, on the evening of Friday 5th Nov. All are welcome.

  • Derek Taylor says:

    Not sure if this awful Israeli government decision, and the charities & other UK agencies’ reaction will even reach the British public due to the biased reporting and cowardly policy of our media towards Israel. I’ve never had a letter even mildly critical of Israeli published in any of our ‘free’ press.

  • Naomi Wayne says:

    I am shocked to see not a single Jewish NGO among the sixteen organisations that signed that statement. And I am pretty sure it is because none were asked. It is bad enough trying to get a Jewish message that we are not all passionate supporters of Israel, without those who should be our friends in solidarity with the Palestinians excluding us, or ignoring us or forgetting we even exist. I am shocked – and outraged.

  • John Noble says:

    How is this going to end, are we sleep walking and watching something going beyond anything we have seen before, I trust not.

  • Allan Howard says:

    Just came across the following comment on Mondoweiss (with a link to The Times of Israel article, but when you open the page you get all this adblocker stuff come up);

    Public Security Minister Barlev says he has not seen any materials tying the six organizations to the PFLP terror group, as claimed by Defense Minister Gantz…Public Security Minister Omer Barlev said Sunday that the move to designate six Palestinian human rights groups as terror organizations was not discussed in the high-level security cabinet, of which he is a member….“I am a member of the security cabinet and it did not come up there. This raises questions,” Barlev told the Kan public broadcaster.

    Now I wonder why it didn’t come up in the high-level security cabinet meeting…. Mmm, now let me think…………………………………………

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