22 October 2021
ICHR deplores the Israeli occupying authorities’ decision to label six Palestinian human rights groups as “terrorist organisations”, considering it as a dangerous escalation against Palestinian civil society
The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) deplores the decision made by Benny Gantz, Israeli Defence Minister, on labelling six Palestinian human rights, civil and development groups as “terrorist organisations”. The ICHR views the decision as a continuation of Israel’s aggression against the Palestinian people, national institutions, and civil society actors, which all operate in line with the Palestinian law. Falling within the context of targeting the Palestinian narrative, this decision is triggered by the important role played by Palestinian civil society in prosecuting Israel’s crimes and confronting its displacement policies.
The ICHR views the continued and systematic Israeli policy of targeting Palestinian civil society organisations as a violation of the norms of International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law, both applicable to the occupied Palestinian territory. It is regarded a crime, which requires that perpetrators be prosecuted and put on trial.
Against this backdrop, the ICHR reiterates its condemnation of the Israeli occupying authorities’ decision on the closure of these six organisations, namely, the Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Addameer), Defence for Children International – Palestine, Al-Haq, Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, and Bisan Center for Research and Development.
The ICHR calls on the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 to fulfil their responsibilities under international conventions and intervene to ensure the protection of the Palestinian people, civilian objects, and human rights, humanitarian and development organisations. While providing protection to human rights defenders throughout the oPt, Special Rapporteurs should put pressure on Israel, the occupying Power, to comply with International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law.