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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Stand with Palestinian civil society against militarist attacks

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On 18 August 2022, Israeli soldiers raided and temporarily closed the offices of seven prominent Palestinian civil society organisations, namely, the Health Work Committees, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq, Union of Palestinian Womenโ€™s Committees, Bisan Centre, Defence for Children International โ€“ Palestine, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees. The incident came at the heels of recentย Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, which killed at least 45 Palestinians including 16 children.

Six of the seven organisations have beenย designated as โ€œterroristsโ€ in October 2021ย under the Israeli occupationโ€™s 2016 Anti-Terrorism Law, on the government pretext that the CSOs finance armed Palestinian resistance organisations. Authorities have continued to intimidate Defence for Children International โ€“ Palestine director, Khaled Quzmar, and Al-Haq director, Shawan Jabrin, with threats of interrogation and arrest.

IBON International condemns these recent spate of attacks against the Palestinian people. We support the calls of the seven Palestinian organisations to revoke the misleading and dangerous terrorist designation. In actuality, these organisations work for Israeli government accountability, as well as provide support to Palestinian political prisoners and victims of human rights violations.

The raids and threats attempt to incite fear among Palestinian civil society and Palestinian solidarity networks. It is part of a larger arsenal of US-backed Israeli militarism to sustain a regime of occupation and apartheid, against peopleโ€™s rights, self-determination, and development. To date, the US has providedย USD 150 billion in military and economic aid to Israel.

IBON International reiterates calls to repeal counterterrorism policies that undermine peopleโ€™s rights and threaten rights defenders, peopleโ€™s organisations, and civil society. States across the world, as part of the US-led โ€œwar on terror,โ€ have adopted such laws which restrict civil-political rights โ€“ from Palestine, to India, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. In the Philippines, members of Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, a faith-based organisation advocating for peasantsโ€™ right to land, have been targeted with repression on unfoundedย accusationsย that they fund Maoist armed movements.

We urge the international community to continue standing with Palestinian peopleโ€™s organisations and civil society. Continuing peopleโ€™s solidarity and ceasing US support would create better conditions for the Palestinian peopleโ€™s right to return and liberation.

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