October 29, 2021
On 19 October 2021, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz designated six leading Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist organizations, including 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), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC).
The Israeli government has continued to intensify its attacks on independent Palestinian human rights organizations and their staff, who regularly face smear campaigns, spurious accusations of links to terrorism as well as threats and intimidation, travel bans and movement restrictions, and arrest for their work. Independent Israeli and international organizations have also been targeted by Israel for their work documenting and advocating against Israel’s human rights violations. Israel’s actions clearly follow the pattern set by authoritarian states in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and around the world.
This unprecedented designation is merely the latest escalation in Israel’s widespread and systematic institutionalized campaign that has aimed to silence and discredit any Palestinian individual or organization that dares seek accountability for Israel’s grave human rights violations, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The “persecution of organizations and persons, by depriving them of fundamental rights and freedoms, because they oppose apartheid” is one of the methods used by Israel to maintain its domination and oppression over the Palestinian people.
On 18 October 2021, the Israeli Interior Minister announced the official revocation of the Jerusalem residency status of Palestinian-French human rights defender and lawyer Salah Hammouri based on “breach of allegiance” to the State of Israel, opening the way for more widespread use of residency revocation on this basis, putting thousands of Palestinians in Jerusalem at risk of arbitrary and punitive measures leading to their forcible transfer.
UN experts condemned the designations of the six NGOs as terrorist organizations “a frontal attack on the Palestinian human rights movement, and on human rights everywhere” and called upon the international community to “defend the defenders.” The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called on Israel to revoke the designations, affirming that "claiming rights before a UN or other international body is not an act of terrorism, advocating for the rights of women in the occupied Palestinian territory is not terrorism, and providing legal aid to detained Palestinians is not terrorism". The designation has also been condemned by other international actors, including members of the US House of Representatives, European Parliamentarians as well as international civil society.
The designation presents a challenge to the international community, especially democratic states that speak out and support independent human rights organizations and defenders in other parts of the world. Remaining silent is insufficient given the urgent support and protection needs of the six organizations that are now at an additional risk of raids, confiscation of property and materials, closure of bank accounts, arrest of staff members, and closure of their offices. Israel’s attacks against these organizations pose an existential threat to independent Palestinian human rights organizations and civil society who work to monitor and document violations of human rights and provide basic services to the Palestinian people.
We call upon the international community to publicly condemn and reject Israel’s designation of Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations as “terrorist organizations” as an internationally wrongful act, to call for Israel to immediately rescind the designation, and to demand Israel repeal its Anti-Terrorism Law (2016) as it does not meet basic human rights standards and to end all other actions that deny Palestinians their inalienable human rights. We also urge members of the international community to publicly show support for the six organizations and Palestinian civil society at large.
Further, the international community, especially the European Union and its member states who are key supporters of and donors to Palestinian civil society, should ensure that banks and financial institutions in their jurisdiction are notified Israel’s designation of Palestinian organizations is unfounded and inapplicable.
List of signatories:
11.11.11; Abna Al-Quds Club; Action for Change and Democracy in Algeria; AFKAR for Educational & Cultural Development; Agir pour le Changement et la Démocratie en Algérie (ACDA); Al Ataa Charitable Society; Albanian Human Rights Group; Al Dameer Association for Human Rights; Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man; Al Karmel Culture and Social Development Association; Al-Marsad Arab Human Rights Center in Golan Heights; Al Mezan Center for Human Rights; Altawasol Forum Society; Aman Organization Against Discrimination; ANSWER Coalition; Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem; Arab Canadian Lawyers Association; Arab Center for Agricultural Development; Artists for Palestine UK; Asha Parivar; Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA); Associació Hèlia; Asociación Paz con Dignidad; Association Africaine de Défense droit de l’Homme (ASADHO) ; Association Belgo-Palestinienne WB; Association des Magistrats Tunisiens; Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine (AURDIP); Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS); Association Internationale de Soutien aux Prisonniers Politiques; Association Nachaz; Association pour le Droit à la Différence (ADD); Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates; Association Tunisienne de Soutien des Minorités; Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children; Australia Palestine Advocacy Network; Australian Centre for International Justice; Bait Lahia Youth Association Center; BankTrack - Netherlands; Basma Society for Culture and Arts; Basmeh & Zeitooneh; Baytna; Beity; Belady Foundation for Human Rights; Belgian Campaign for an Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel; BDS País Valencià; Broederlijk Delen; Business and Human Rights Resource Center (BHRRC); Bytes For All; Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS); Canada Palestine Association; Canadian BDS Coalition; Canadians for Peace and Justice in Kashmir; Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME); Canada Palestine Friendship Society; Carleton University Students for Justice in Palestine; Catholics for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land; Center for Civil Liberties; Center for Constitutional Rights; Center for Defense of Liberties & Civil Rights (Hurryyat); Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR); Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO); Central Blood Bank Society; Coalition of African Lesbians; Committee for the Respect of Freedoms and Human Rights in Tunisia; Committee on the Administration of Justice (Northern Ireland); Community Empowerment and Social Justice Network (CEMSOJ); Community Media Center; Conectas Direitos Humanos; Confederación Intersindical Galega (CIG); Congregations of St. Joseph; Citizen News Service (CNS); Citoyenneté, Développement, Cultures et migrations des deux Rives; CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation; CNCD-11.11.11; Collectif des Familles de Disparus en Algérie (CFDA); Cooperazione Internazionale Sud Sud (CISS); Cultura è libertà una campagna per la Palestina; De-Colonizer; Defence for Children International - Italy; DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project); Defender Center for Human Rights; Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN); docP - BDS Netherlands; Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt, NY; Dr. Haider Abdel Shafi Center for Culture & Development; Edmonton Run for Palestine; Egyptian Front for Human Rights; EuroMed Rights; European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP); European Legal Support Center (ELSC); European Trade Union Network For Justice in Palestine (ETUN); Fagforbundet; Fares Arab Foundation for Development; FIAN International; Finnish-Arab Friendship Society; Free Gaza Australia; Fundación Mundubat; Gaza Action Ireland; General and Autonomous Confederation of Workers in Algeria (CGATA); General Confederation of the Portuguese Workers (CGTP-IN); Gibanje za pravice Palestincev; Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect; Grassroots AlQuds; Groupe LOTUS; Grup de Suport a Juani Rishmawi; Gruppo Ibriq per la cultura e la causa Palestinese; Hassan El Saadawi Association for Democracy and Equality; Human Rights and Democracy Center (SHAMS); Human Rights Commission of Pakistan; International Accountability Project; International Association for the Support of Political Prisoners; International Commission of Jurists (ICJ); International Commission to Support Palestinian Rights; International Service for Human Rights (ISHR); International Women's Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW AP); Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign; Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU); Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD); Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) – Finland; Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) - Germany; Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions UK; Jabalia Rehabilitation Society; Joussour De Citoyenneté; Just Peace Advocates; Jurists without Chains; Justice for Iran; Justitia Center for Legal Protection of Human Rights in Algeria; Kairos Ireland; Kairos Sabeel Netherlands; Kenya Human Rights Commission; Land Research Center; Leadership Team of the Dominican Sisters and Associates of Racine, WI; League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI); Lebanese Center for Human Rights; Libya Al-Mostakbal; Libyan Center for Freedom of the Press; Libyan Network for Legal Aid; Libyan Women's Platform for Peace; Ligue Algérienne de Défense des Droits de L'homme; Ligue des droits de l'Homme; Ligue Suisse des Droits de l'Homme - Genève; MA'AN Development Center; MADRE - USA; Maine Voices for Palestinian Rights; Makan; MakeShiftPublishing BV; Manushya Foundation; Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns; MENA Rights Group; Mwatana for Human Rights; Nā Pua Kūʻē – Hawaiʻi Dissenters; National Autonomous Union of Public Administration Staff (SNAPAP); National Fisheries Solidarity; National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT); Netherlands Palestine Committee; Niagara Movement for Justice in Palestine-Israel (NMJPI); NOVACT; New Weapons Research Group onlus; Oakville Palestinian Rights Association; Odhikar; One Justice; Organisation 23_10 d'Appui au Processus de Transition Démocratique; Österreichische Liga für Menschenrechte; Our Revolution Northern Virginia (ORNOVA); Palestina Solidariteit vzw; Palästina Spricht; Palestinakomiteen i Larvik-Sandefjord; Palestine Link; Palestine Solidarity Alliance of South Africa; Palestine Solidarity Campaign - Britain (England, Wales, and Scotland); Palestine Solidarity Campaign - Gauteng (Johannesburg); Palestine Solidarity Campaign - Cape Town; Palestinian Solidarity Group at Mount Holyoke College; Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA); Palestinian Assembly for Liberation; Palestinian Children in Israeli Military Prisons (PIM); Palestinian Counseling Center; Palestinian Youth Movement; Pax Christi Flanders; Pax Christi USA; PeaceWomen Across the Globe; Plan International - Jordan; Platform of French NGOs for Palestine; Portuguese League for Human Rights - Civitas; Princeton Committee on Palestine; Project48; Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice; Racial Literacy Groups; Réseau International des Droits Humains (RIDH); Riposte International; Rumbo a Gaza; Salaam Ragazzi dell'Olivo, Comitato di Trieste; Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network; Sareyyet Ramallah; Sexual Rights Intiative; Sheffield Labour Friends of Palestine; Sinistra Italiana; Socialist Party (India); SOLSOC; South African BDS Coalition; South African Jews for a Free Palestine (SAJFP); SumOfUs; Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM); Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ); Syrian Justice and Accountability Center (SJAC); The Community Action Center at Al-Quds University; The Cultural Forum Center; The Culture and Free Thought Association; The National Society for Democracy and Law; The Palestine Committee of Norway; The Palestine Project; The Palestinian Developmental Women Studies Association (PDWSA); The Palestinian Human Rights Organization (PHRO); The Rights Forum; The Society of Women Graduates; Toronto Palestine Film Festival; Trade Union Friends of Palestine; Transnational Institute; Trócaire; Tunisian Association of Defending Individual Liberties (ADLI); Tunisian Association of the Democratic Women (ATFD); Tunisian Youth Movement in Germany; UK-Palestine Mental Health Network; Union Aid Abroad APHEDA; Union Juive Française pour la Paix (UJFP); Union Syndicale Solidaires; United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine - Israel; Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights; USA Palestine Mental Health Network; Visualizing Palestine; Viva Salud; We Network; WESPAC Foundation, Inc.; Women Against Violence; Women in Black Vienna; Women Now For Development; Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC); Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF); Women's Studies Centre; Youth Development Association (YDA); Youth for Tawergha; Zochrot.