#StandWithThe6 against new Israel’s attack on civil society

Israel/Palestine, Newsletter

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Friday 22 October was the day chosen by the Israeli Ministry of Defence to move forward in Israeli plans to shut down the Palestinian human rights movement. Through an executive order, Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz outlawed six human rights and civil society organisations using the 2016 Counter-Terrorism Law and labelling them as “terrorist organisations”.

The organisations targeted are EuroMed Rights member Al-Haq, Addameer, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, Defence for Children International – Palestine, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees. 

This announcement will have unprecedented and dire consequences for the listed organisations and for the broader human rights community active in Palestine.  

The last days have seen a wave of support from international organisations, solidarity groups and the United Nations to the designated organisations and the Palestinian human rights movement at large. The campaign #StandWithThe6 has been launched on social media to express outrage at the criminalisation of Palestinian civil society. These reactions were to be expected as the latest act of the Israeli government means that, for instance, Al-Haq staff and board members are now at high risk of arrests, the organisations’ financial or physical assets can be frozen or confiscated. All organisations face a risk of permanent closure.  

Beyond the dire impact for these organisations and their staff as described above, the designation as “terrorist organisations” can cause financial and political supporters as well as other organisations in Palestine, Israel and abroad to shy away from supporting Palestinian NGOs. Consequences for their partnership with European organisations, be they civil society organisations, states or development agencies, can also be expected. 

With little room for legal manoeuver, this decision represents the culmination of the longstanding campaign by the Israeli government to undermine and defund the work of human rights defenders and civil society in Palestine. A campaign thought and designed to cripple the voices that fight against the Israeli apartheid regime over Palestinians. 

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