Jerusalem24 – Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association says they “expected some form of escalation” from Israeli authorities after nine European countries declared their support for them in July.
Israeli forces raided Addameer’s office on Thursday morning, confiscated equipment, welded the doors shut, and left a military order for the closure of the office pinned to the front door. Israeli forces also raided another six Palestinian NGOs in Ramallah and Al-Bireh.
Addameer is one of six Palestinian civil society institutions that were designated “terrorist” organizations by Israel in October 2021. Individual European countries, followed by the European Union itself, said they received “no convincing evidence” from Israel of any involvement in terrorist activities, and the European Commission officially resumed its funding to Al-Haq in June.
Three of the six organizations, namely Addameer, Bisan Center for Research & Development, and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, received a “permanent” terrorist designation by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz late Wednesday night.
In the 10 months since the initial designation was made, Addameer has appealed the military order to close down its West Bank office – but did not object to the “terror” designation itself.
Sahar Francis, General Director of Addameer, tells Jerusalem24: “We were surprised [Wednesday] night that at the same time Gantz made his announcement, the military commander of the West Bank area also rejected our appeal. And then during the same night they raided the office of Addameer.”
Francis says that Gantz could have announced the “permanent” designation any time since last October since Addameer did not appeal against it (Al-Haq and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees are both fighting the designation in Israeli courts).
Francis says it is “very clear” that there will be no justice achieved in Israeli courts, and Addameer will not be taking further action in Israeli courts which are “biased and unjust.”
Addameer never expected the Israeli designation to be withdrawn, and after the letter of support sent by nine European countries rejecting Israel’s “secret evidence” in July, the organization had been waiting for some form of retaliation.
“We felt that this might push the Israeli occupation authorities to take action, because this is the nature of the occupation: with no real justice or accountability for more than 70 years, we expect it to do as it pleases. Everything is allowed for them.”
“We will continue our campaign and movement, on both the local and international levels, through diplomatic efforts, advocacy, and legal work,” says Francis.