Yossi Schwartz, ISL- the section of the RCIT in Israel/Occupied Palestine, 23.10.2021
The minister of war and state security, Benny Gantz, issued military orders alleging that six Palestinian human rights groups and civil society movements are “terror organizations” and fronts for the Palestinian PFLP (The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), a guerilla movement designated by Israel as a terrorist organization. The PFLP considers both the Fatah-led government in the West Bank and the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip illegal because elections to the Palestinian National Authority have not been held since 2006. From 2015, the PFLP boycotts the PLO Executive Committee and the Palestinian National Council (The Palestinian parliament).
The six organizations are Addameer which defends Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli courts; Al-Haq, which tracks rights abuses committed by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority; the Defense for Children-International, which advocates on behalf of Palestinian children. The Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, the Bisan Research and Advocacy Center, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees.
These military orders are terrorist acts aimed at silencing and destroying these organizations that expose the crimes of the Zionist state while getting financial support from European states and at the same time to terrorize the Palestinian civil resistance to the daily repression: the land theft, the killing and injuring of protesting people including children, medical teams, journalists and the arrest of members of the Palestinian parliament. For example, Khalida Jarrar, a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was sentenced in March to two years in prison after being held in an Israeli jail for more than a year without charges.
This is not the only time that the Zionist state has banned political or human rights Palestinian organizations. The North Islamic brotherhood was banned because it defends the Al Aqsa Mosques.
The Zionist laws ban supporting or joining a terror group, and violators can face years in prison. They allow Israel to seize assets belonging to terror organizations and forbid funding their activities; donors can be sent to prison.
This new terrorist act by the Zionist monster faces condemnation and questioning from all over the world. The European Union, which said some of the groups receive its funding, questioned Israel’s reasoning and said it would continue to back the groups.
“Past allegations of the misuse of EU funds in relation to some of our Palestinian [civil society organization] partners have not been developed in a long stigmatizing campaign against these and other organizations, damaging their ability to deliver on their crucial work substantiated,” a spokesperson said. “EU funding to Palestinian civil society organizations is an important element of our support for the two-state solutions.” [i]
“Counter-terrorism legislation must not be used to constrain legitimate human rights and humanitarian work,” the United Nations Human Rights Office in Ramallah said, accusing Israel of predicting the decision on “extremely vague or irrelevant reasons, including entirely peaceful and legitimate activities. These designations are the latest.” [ii]
The PA called it ‘libelous slander’; “This fallacious and libelous slander is a strategic assault on Palestinian civil society and the Palestinian people’s fundamental right to oppose Israel’s illegal occupation and expose its continuing crimes,” it said.” [iii]
UN and EU question Israeli claim that civil society groups were fronts for the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) a left-wing guerilla organization designated by the Zionist as a terrorist organization.
“In Washington, several progressive Democratic members of Congress, including Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rep. Mark Pocan, also condemned the decision. “There must be immediate consequences from the US and the international community for this brazen act,” Omar wrote on Twitter“. [iv]
J Street, an American Jewish liberal Zionist organization that lobbies the United States to act for a two-state solution, called for US President Joe Biden’s administration to censure Israel over the decision.
“This is a deeply repressive measure that seems designed to outlaw and persecute important Palestinian human rights groups,” it said in a statement. “The Biden Administration] should make clear to the Israeli government that this is totally unacceptable and anti-democratic, and call on them to reverse the decision.” [v]
Rabbi Jill Jacobs, the head of the progressive rabbinical group T’ruah, called the move “alarming”.
“By falsely labeling Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist groups, the Israeli government reduces transparency and violates the basic rights of Palestinians in ways that can have life-threatening consequences,” she said in a statement.” [vi]
Even the US State Department spokesperson said Friday under the pressure after others condemned Israel’s justification for the move that the US will seek Israel’s explanation as to why it decided to brand six Palestinian rights organizations as terror groups.
In a joint statement, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International condemned the move as “appalling and unjust.”
“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,” the two organizations said” [vii]
Al-Haq director Shawan Jabarin said that the move was an attempt to crack down on criticisms of Israeli human rights violations.
“They may be able to close us down. They can seize our funding. They can arrest us. But they cannot stop our firm and unshakeable belief that this occupation must be held accountable for its crimes,” Jabarin told The Times of Israel” [viii]
In Israel itself, the human rights organization B’Tselem, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel condemned the act.
“Israel’s ‘change’ government’s designation, earlier today, of Palestinian human rights organizations as ‘terror organizations’ is not merely declarative. It is an act characteristic of totalitarian regimes, with the clear purpose of shutting down these organizations,” said B’Tselem.” [ix]
So far, the only member of the Zionist Knesset MK Ayman Odeh, who leads the Joint List bloc, criticized the decision. “Day is not night, and Palestinian rights organizations are not terrorist organizations. The occupation is terrorism, he said” [x]
Gantz’s order is in line with giving the police the power to enter and search every Palestinian home in Israel before 1967 without a search order and with giving the Security Service the Sheen Beth the power to participate in the alleged fight against Palestinian criminal gangs. These are direct attacks on the democratic rights of the 1948 Palestinians.
Ganatz’s order is not a mistake of an individual Minister as the defenders of the Zionist apartheid state are likely to claim it is a reflection of its monstrous nature.
Down with the Zionist Apartheid State!
For Palestine Red and Free from the River to the Sea!