Partners for Progressive Israel Condemns
the Raids of Six Palestinian NGOs
Last night, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz sent soldiers and border police to raid the Ramallah offices of seven Palestinian human rights NGOs that monitor violations of international law in the Occupied Territories. The army broke down doors, confiscated papers and other property, and soldered doors shut to block their ongoing activity.
Figures in Israel and around the world have sharply criticized the Israeli measure. Minister Tamar Zandberg of Meretz called it “shameful,” saying the raid was both unjust and unwise. MK Mossi Raz, also of Meretz, noted that because Palestinians under occupation lack civil rights, the raid was carried out “without due process and without substantive evidence presented. That’s not the way the army of a democracy is supposed to behave and not the way to stop terrorism.” For its part, the European Union has reaffirmed its support for the organizations, after informing Israel months ago that it had failed to provide credible evidence that the organizations are indeed terrorist groups.
Israeli NGOs are speaking out as well, including many that have been featured in our “Kolot: Voices of Hope” series. A partial list: Breaking the Silence, Standing Together, HaMoked, Ir Amim, Gisha, Physicians for Human Rights Israel, and Emek Shaveh.
Last October, following Defense Minister Gantz’s initial classification of the Palestinian NGOs as tied to terrorism, Partners for Progressive Israel stated that Gantz had “made his declaration with an unacceptable lack of transparency,” and that if he “has real information that the six organizations are part of or working with a genuine terrorist organization, he must make it public immediately. Until such time, we regard his declaration as suspect and unwarranted.” Please click here to read our statement in full.
In the time since then, as noted by the EU, the Government of Israel has provided nothing of substance that would link any of these organizations to terrorism.
According to the New York Times: The United States has not taken a public position on the designations. In response to questions, a spokesman for the State Department, Ned Price, has said that “independent civil society organizations in the West Bank and in Israel must be able to continue their important work.”
Partners considers this response shamefully insufficient. This is one more example, as if more were needed, of the corrosive efforts of occupation, and why the U.S. government should make ending it a priority.
Partners will keep monitoring the situation and will bring you any further developments.