Jerusalem24 – Palestinian civil society organizations last week hosted a joint diplomatic briefing at Al-Haq’s office in Ramallah, which addressed the ramifications of Israel’s unprecedented and alarming escalation of attacks against Palestinian human rights defenders and civil society organizations culminating in the recent designation of six eminent Palestinian civil society organizations as “terrorist organizations” under Israel’s domestic Anti-Terrorism Law of 2016.
The diplomatic briefing witnessed a strong attendance by diverse representative offices, who engaged with representatives of the six targeted organizations: Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man (Al-Haq), Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC).
General Director of Al-Haq, Shawan Jabarin, explained that the attack comes within institutionalized efforts to silence and shrink Palestinian civil society space, noting that: “the attack comes in the aftermath of Israel’s failure to dry the resources and shut Palestinian civil society organizations down, specifically given the ongoing support by the civil society groups’ partners”.
Jabarin conveyed a staunch message of steadfastness to the diplomatic missions emphasizing that the work of Palestinian civil society and human rights defenders is not a job, but a conviction that cannot be repressed. He relayed that, “Israeli authorities can drain the resources of Palestinian civil society organizations. They can shut our offices down. They can criminalize us and take us to courts. They can arrest us, but they will not silence us. We will build offices in prisons and continue to do our work towards the rule of law, justice, and accountability”.
General Director of DCI-P, Khaled Quzmar, whose offices were raided and ordered to close by Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) last July, explained the unjust Israeli system that binds any attempt to challenge Israeli decisions by Palestinians to failure. Quzmar explained that Israeli law does not confer a disclosure obligation on the Israeli judicial authorities, thereby denying affected Palestinians a fair chance to challenge the Israeli allegations. He further clarified that in the DCI-P case, as in other cases, the Israeli courts rule in favor of the Military Attorney General’s requests and even more than what is requested, which is illegal under any judicial system in the world. He concluded by emphasizing that should the targeted Palestinian organizations decide to appeal this designation decision, it is to show the world how unjust and unfair the Israeli judicial system is.
In this episode of Wake Up Palestine, we speak with Milena Ansari, the international advocacy officer at the Addameer for prisoner support; one of the organizations that Israeli defense Minister Benny Gantz classified as a terrorist organization.