Citizen Action Monitor

Israel declares six Palestinian human rights groups as “terrorist”, absent any supporting evidence

Israel has a long track record of suppressing groups that seek to expose its human rights abuses —

No 2790 by fw, October 25, 2021—

“On Friday [October 22], Israel’s Defence Minister Benny Gantz signed a military order declaring six of the most prominent Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the occupied Palestinian territories “terrorist organizations.” The decree is an attack on Palestinian human rights activists and the communities they represent, and on the local and international public’s right to information about the situation in the occupied territories. The six NGOs have documented abuses by Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas, and sought to defend Palestinian prisoners, farmworkers, women and children. Gantz claimed, without providing any evidence, that they are part of an international network run by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), designated as a terrorist organization by Israel, the US and the European Union (EU). Once one of the most important Palestinian organizations, the PFLP, which rejected the Oslo Accords in favour of a one state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, views both the Fatah-led PA government in the West Bank and the Hamas government in Gaza as illegal because there have been no elections since 2006.”Jean Shaoul, World Socialist Web Site

Below is my slightly abridged repost of WSWS’s article, including my added subheadings to facilitate browsing, and highlighted text and the use of bulletted formatting to capture readers’ attention. As well, I include here, Jean Shaoul’s closing paragraph, which captures my personal disgust with decades of Israel’s persistent persecution and dehumanization of Palestinians:

“It demonstrates that it is impossible for Israel’s financial and political elite to maintain even the semblance of democratic rule while illegally occupying Palestinian land and the Golan Heights, discriminating against their own Palestinian citizens, and systematically impoverishing the vast majority of Jewish and Palestinian Israelis.”

Alternatively, to read Shaoul’s complete piece on the WSWS website, click on the following linked title.

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Israel outlaws six Palestinian human rights groups, branding them “terrorist organizations” by Jean Shaoul, World Socialist Web Site, October 26, 2021

Israel brands six Palestinian human rights groups as “terrorist”, absent evidence

On Friday, Israel’s Defence Minister Benny Gantz signed a military order declaring six of the most prominent Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the occupied Palestinian territories “terrorist organizations.”

The six have documented Israel’s abuses in effort to defend Palestinians and serve international public’s right to be informed

The decree is an attack on Palestinian human rights activists and the communities they represent, and on the local and international public’s right to information about the situation in the occupied territories. The six NGOs have documented abuses by Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas, and sought to defend Palestinian prisoners, farm workers, women and children.

Gantz claimed, without providing any evidence, that they are part of an international network run by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), designated as a terrorist organization by Israel, the US and the European Union (EU). Once one of the most important Palestinian organizations, the PFLP, which rejected the Oslo Accords in favour of a one state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, views both the Fatah-led PA government in the West Bank and the Hamas government in Gaza as illegal because there have been no elections since 2006.

Paradoxically, despite its criminal “allegations”, Israel has no plans for a criminal investigation

The military order asserted that the NGOs are “controlled by senior leaders” of the PFLP and employ its members, including some who had “participated in terror activity.” Furthermore, the order stated, they served as a “central source” of financing for the PFLP, having received “large sums of money from European countries and international organizations.

Despite claiming to have “unambiguous and cast in concrete” evidence, Israel has not announced any plans for a criminal investigation. The six groups have two months to appeal the decision.

Israel reaps significant benefits of making these kinds of unproven charges

Gantz’s edict, issued under Israel’s domestic anti-terrorism law of 2016, enables the authorities

    • to close the NGOs’ offices,
    • seize assets,
    • arrest staff and even
    • prohibit funding or public expressions of support for their activities.

Israel’s action intimidates and prevents action by third parties and international organizations

Crucially, it serves to intimidate and prevent third parties and international organizations from funding or supporting them and their work, since Israeli counter-terrorism law mandates jail terms not just for members of groups designated as terrorist organizations but also for people in Israel who express support for them. It is thus aimed at depriving the NGOs of their funding as international opposition to Israel’s criminal suppression of the Palestinians has grown.

Israel’s bogus charges targets Palestinian human rights groups that have exposed Israel’s crimes

The order is explicitly aimed at human rights organizations that have played a major role in exposing the crimes committed by

    • the military,
    • security,
    • police and intelligence forces against the Palestinians,
    • as well as right-wing Jewish settlers’ violent and murderous attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank.

The six organizations targetted by Israel —

None of the Palestinian organizations has yet issued a response. The six organizations include:

    • Addameer, which offers legal aid to Palestinians in Israeli prisons, collects information on prisoners and the conditions of their incarceration, campaigns against practices such as administrative detention without trial, torture and solitary confinement by the Israeli authorities.
    • Al-Haq, which compiles reports on human rights violations in the occupied territories by both Israel and the PA and has published reports on torture in PA prisons and the lack of freedom of expression in Palestinian society.
    • The Bisan Center, which has criticized the impact of the Israeli occupation on poverty in the West Bank and the PA’s neoliberal policies.
    • Defense for Children International Palestine, a branch of the Geneva-based Defense for Children, which provides aid to children being tried in Israeli military courts and researches children imprisoned by Israel, numbering 200, and the impact of the occupation on children’s rights.
    • The Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, which trains women to take part in politics, helps establish cooperatives and offers legal and psychological aid to women.
    • *The Union of Agricultural Work Committees, which seeks to promote “farmers’ steadfastness and sustainable livelihoods” and aids Palestinian farmers—mainly in Area C of the West Bank that is under Israeli military control and home to the vast majority of the Israeli settlements—who have been subject to years of harassment by settlers with the active support of the Israeli army.

Israel’s own human rights organization, B’Tselem, among those condemning Israel’s crimes

Israel’s decision has been condemned by human rights organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Israel’s B’Tselem. The UN Human Rights Office in the occupied Palestinian territories issued a statement saying, “Counter-terrorism legislation must not be used to constrain legitimate human rights and humanitarian work.” It described the reasons cited by Gantz as “vague or irrelevant” and his decision as the latest move in a “long-stigmatizing campaign” against the Palestinian NGOs.

Major powers willfully avoid condemning Israel

The major powers, including the US, Germany, Britain, France, Greece and India, that are currently participating in joint aerial exercises with Israel, have studiously avoided condemning Israel’s action. [Canada has made no secret of its support for Israel]

The US State Department, Israel’s puppet master, issued a hypocritical, pro forma statement about the importance of human rights, emphasizing it had not been informed about the measure and would request more information about the designations.

The EU, which claims to support the Palestinians’ human rights and has funded some of the NGOs while supplying Israel with weaponry, has remained silent on the issue. Similarly, the UK, which is cracking down on support for the Palestinians on university campuses under the pretext of fighting anti-Semitism, has said nothing.

Israel has a track record of suppressing those who seek to expose its human rights abuses

This latest escalation follows a long line of efforts to suppress protestors, activists, community organizers, lawyers and journalists in Palestine, Israel and internationally who seek to expose, challenge and sanction Israel’s human rights abuses. Israel’s ministry of strategic affairs, working with far-right nationalist forces and settler groups, has targeted and slandered Palestinian NGOs with claims of corruption and misuse of funds, clamped down on their finances, denied entry to their employees and international co-thinkers and raided their offices.

The outlawing of human rights groups and persecution of humanitarian activists follows Israel’s decades-long suppression of the Palestinians that has included —

    • collective punishment,
    • house demolitions,
    • deportations,
    • detention without trial,
    • torture,
    • targeted assassinations
    • and most recently the denial of COVID-19 vaccinations.
    • This, along with legislation establishing an apartheid state, confirms that Israel has repudiated all the limited characteristics of bourgeois democracy.

Israel’s ongoing crimes against Palestinians expose its bogus pretense of democratic rule

It demonstrates that it is impossible for Israel’s financial and political elite to maintain even the semblance of democratic rule while illegally occupying Palestinian land and the Golan Heights, discriminating against their own Palestinian citizens, and systematically impoverishing the vast majority of Jewish and Palestinian Israelis.

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