Israeli forces Thursday dawn raided the headquarters of seven Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations in the occupied West Bank cities of Ramallah and al-Bireh and ordered the places to be shut down, according to local sources.
The heavily-armed soldiers stormed the offices of the organizations, muscled inside, tampered with the contents, seized office equipment and documentation, shut down the main entrances with iron plates, and left behind military orders declaring the organizations unlawful.
The organizations raided are Al-Haq, Addameer, the Bisan Center for Research & Development, Defense for Children International Palestine (DCI-Palestine), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, the Union of Health Work Committees, and the Union of Palestinian Women.
In October 2021, Israel declared Addameer, Al-Haq, and Bisan, along with Defense for Children International-Palestine, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees as terrorist organizations.
The declaration, which accused the groups of militant links, was met with criticism from both the United Nations and human rights organizations.
The groups deny the claims and in a joint statement last month nine European countries said they would continue working with them because Israel had failed to prove the allegation that they were terrorist organizations.
The foreign ministries of Belgium; Denmark; France; Germany; Ireland; Italy; the Netherlands; Spain; and Sweden said they had not received “substantial information” from Israel that would justify reviewing their policy.
“Should evidence be made available to the contrary, we would act accordingly,” they said. “In the absence of such evidence, we will continue our cooperation and strong support for the civil society in the OPT (occupied Palestinian territories).
“A free and strong civil society is indispensable for promoting democratic values and for the two-state solution.”
Prime Minister pays solidarity visit to a Palestinian NGO shut by Israel, says it is a legal organization
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh today expressed his government’s support for human rights and civil organizations closed by the Israeli occupation forces this morning, stressing that they are a major component of the Palestinian national fabric.
Shtayyeh made these remarks during a visit to the main office of the al-Haq human rights organization, one of the seven institutions closed by the occupation forces in the cities of Ramallah and Al-Bireh.
“This institution and all the others are registered with the State of Palestine, and therefore are legal institutions that operate within the law,” he said, calling on the organizations to resume their work despite their closure by the Israeli occupation authorities.
He stressed that his government’s work is not only limited to licensing these institutions but rather to defend them “because they are the voice of truth.”
Shtayyeh said his government will continue to support these institutions and will recruit funds for them, stressing that nine European countries have confirmed that there is no evidence to condemn them as Israel claims.
He stressed that Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz does not have the right to legalize the presence and functioning of Palestinian institutions in any way.
The Prime Minister said that the occupiers want to use the incursions into the Palestinian cities and the killings for their elections campaigns, stressing that he will address the international community to ensure support for these institutions.