“Fundamentally speaking, feminism cannot support racism, supremacy and oppressive domination in any form.”
- Mariam Barghouti
On October 22, Israeli Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Benny Gantz signed an order declaring six civil society organizations in the West Bank, Palestine, as terrorist organisations, under the Israeli Anti-Terrorism Law of 2016. These are all well known and respected Palestinian civil society organisations: 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.
We firmly condemn this act from the Israeli government as a reckless assault on the essence of human rights work, aimed at silencing and isolating these organisations and further entrenching an environment of impunity. This simultaneous attack against a trade union for agricultural workers and a socio-economic rights organisation, two human rights organisations, a feminist organisation, and a children’s rights organisation, is a clear attempt at exhausting and criminalising the Palestinian civic space.
All these groups have faced repressions from Israeli authorities for many years, either in the form of intimidation, interrogations, office raids, and other forms of harassment.
“Why now? They can no longer handle how we hold them accountable in front of the United Nations and the rest of the world."
- Sahar Francis, Director of Addameer
This most recent assault comes at a time where Israel is under increased international pressure for their human rights violations. Declaring these civil society organizations as terrorist organisations is a clear escalation of Israel’s authoritarianism and desire to remain unaccountable. The consequences of this act are far reaching, not only on the ability of these important human rights organizations to do their work but also on the precedent of criminalizing human rights globally.
“This designation would effectively ban the work of these human rights defenders, and allow the Israeli military to arrest their staff, shutter their offices, confiscate their assets and prohibit their activities and human rights work. The experts note their concern that at least for one of these organisations, this decision may have been taken as a form of reprisal for cooperation with UN entities.”
- UN experts
As feminists, we demand that the Israeli government reverse the designation of human rights organizations as terrorist and that the international community hold Israel accountable for its human rights record. We demand an end to the criminalisation of Palestinian solidarity around the world.