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Israel/Palestine: Designation of Palestinian Rights Groups as Terrorists

A Stain Upon Israel

Wednesday 27 October 2021, by siawi3


A Stain Upon Israel

Sun 24 Oct 2021

JVL Introduction

The title is that of a Ha’aretz editorial – appalled at the Israeli government’s declaration of six prominent and internationally respected civil society organisations in the West Bank as terrorist organizations.

Such actions, says Ha’aretz, not pulling its punches, “are quintessential characteristics of military regimes, in which democracy in its deepest sense is a dead letter.”

It is followed by a statement by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, who work closely with many of the groups, seeing “This appalling and unjust decision [a]s an attack by the Israeli government on the international human rights movement.”

We await strong condemnation of this development by the Labour Party and, if they stand up for human rights at all, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Labour Movement.


25 Oct: we have added a statement from Israel from Academy for Equality,an organization of over seven hundred members of the academic community, committed to promoting a just and democratic future.


This article was originally published by Ha’aretz editorial on Sun 24 Oct 2021. Read the original here.

A Stain Upon Israel

Ha’aretz editorial

The government’s declaration of civil society organizations in the West Bank as terrorist organizations is a destructive folly that tarnishes all of the parties in the coalition and the state itself. The outlawing of human rights groups and persecution of humanitarian activists are quintessential characteristics of military regimes, in which democracy in its deepest sense is a dead letter.

The order signed by Defense Minister Benny Gantz designates six organizations as terror organizations, as follows: Addameer offers legal aid to prisoners, collects data on incarcerations, including so-called administrative detentions – without trial – and acts to end torture.

Al-Haq which documents violations of Palestinian human rights in the occupied territories. The Palestine branch of Defense for Children International monitors the killing of children and the wellbeing of children imprisoned in Israel.

The Union of Agricultural Work Committees aids Palestinian farmers, mainly in Area C of the West Bank, which under the Oslo Accords is under full Israeli control. Also included are the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and the Bisan Center for Research & Development. The intention is clear: Israel will fight these organizations as it fights terror.

From now on, there is no distinction between those waging a violent struggle against the state and hurting innocent civilians, on one hand, and on the other hand lawyers in human rights organizations who give prisoners legal aid or leftist activists in organizations that oppose torture, protect women and children and their rights or document human rights violation in the territories. Now, anyone affiliated with such an organization is akin to a terrorist.

There is a straight line from defining the nonviolent struggle against the occupation as “diplomatic terror” and designating human rights groups as terrorist organizations. The literal meaning is clear: All resistance to the occupation is terror. Israel is undermining the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate struggle.

This is a boon to terrorist organizations and the use of violence. If all forms of resistance constitute terror, how can one resist the occupation without being a terrorist? It’s not clear what Gantz was thinking when he signed the order.

Is he, like Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, flirting with an imaginary right-wing electorate, dreaming of the day he’ll be crowned to lead the right after Benjamin Netanyahu? Is it an attempt to counterbalance his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which gave him a leftist taint?

In any case, it’s indicative of complete confusion, which positions the so-called ‘change government’ in the extreme right and turns the participation in it of leftist and centrist parties into a joke.

If this is the change the government is leading and these are its political colors, it’s not clear how its continued defense in the name of a fear of the alternative of another election can be justified. We can only hope that in the absence of internal resistance, the harsh U.S. reprimand and request for clarifications will end this shameful move.

The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.


Israel/Palestine: Designation of Palestinian Rights Groups as Terrorists

A statement by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International
Attack on the Human Rights Movement

(New York) – The Israeli Defense Ministry on October 19, 2021, issued a military order declaring six Palestinian civil society organizations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory to be “terrorist organizations.” The groups are Addameer, al-Haq, Defense for Children Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Bisan Center for Research and Development, and the Union of Palestinian Women Committees. The designation, made pursuant to a 2016 Israeli statute, effectively outlaws the activities of these civil society groups. It authorizes Israeli authorities to close their offices, seize their assets and arrest and jail their staff members, and it prohibits funding or even publicly expressing support for their activities.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, who work closely with many of the groups, said in a joint statement:

“This appalling and unjust decision is an attack by the Israeli government on the international human rights movement. For decades, Israeli authorities have systematically sought to muzzle human rights monitoring and punish those who criticize its repressive rule over Palestinians. While staff members of our organizations have faced deportation and travel bans, Palestinian human rights defenders have always borne the brunt of the repression. This decision is an alarming escalation that threatens to shut down the work of Palestine’s most prominent civil society organizations. The decades-long failure of the international community to challenge grave Israeli human rights abuses and impose meaningful consequences for them has emboldened Israeli authorities to act in this brazen manner.

How the international community responds will be a true test of its resolve to protect human rights defenders. We are proud to work with our Palestinian partners and have been doing so for decades. They represent the best of global civil society. We stand with them in challenging this outrageous decision.”


A4E’s position regarding the Israeli defense minister’s declaration on Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist

Academy for Equality is an organization of over seven hundred members of the academic community, committed to promoting a just and democratic future. Academy for equality expresses its unreserved support for the Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations targeted by the deplorable decision of Defense Minister, Benny Gantz, to declare them as terrorist organizations in order to ban their activities by decree.

Benny Gantz, as Chief of Staff of the Israeli military, commanded operations in which Israeli military forces have killed hundreds of Palestinian civilians, among them five hundred children under the age of 15, during the campaign known as “Zuk Eitan ” (“Solid rock”). Now, as defense minister, he has declared 6 prominent human rights and civil society organizations as designated terrorist organizations. The work of human rights organizations targeted by Gantz’s decree, such as Addameer and DCI-Palestine, is to defend the rights of detainees arrested by Israeli security forces and held for months without trial or due process, political activists persecuted for their beliefs or political organizing, and to provide legal defense for children arrested in the wee hours of the night. Other organizations targeted by Gantz’s decree are the Women Committees and Agricultural Committees – who struggle with the tasks of building Palestinian communities’ social and economic infrastructure; and Al-Haq, which follows and monitors the occupation’s atrocities, documents and disseminates information in Israel/Palestine and worldwide. Another targeted organization is the Bisan Research Center, dedicated to the development of an open, free and democratic Palestinian society, that has devoted decades of work to the improvement of devastated and impoverished communities by offering educational opportunities and capacities.

We in Academia for Equality, alongside our comrades from Scientists for Palestine, stood in solidary with the Bisan Center and its director when he was persecuted and detained and when its offices were barraged by the Israeli military forces. We maintain our long-standing relations and connections with Addameer, particularly concerning the defense of Palestinian students, arrested because of their political and studential activities. These six organizations constitute the civil spinal cord of the Palestinian society; a society trying to keep a proud posture of dignity and pride under the adverse condition of a brutal Israeli occupation.

Academia for Equality stands unequivocally behind and alongside Palestinian civil society organization. We call the Israeli academic community to step out of its indifference, to sound the alarm bells and express active rejection and objection to the persecution of civil, human rights and community organizations. we call on the international academic community and demand their speedily intervention and to exert its pressure to cancel and recede these abject ban and declaration.