Lawmakers from the Joint List and leading members of Hadash were in Ramallah Tuesday night, October 26, to meet with representatives of the six Palestinian human rights and civil society groups that the Israeli government designated last week as “terrorist organizations.” While this meeting was being held, Hadash and Communist Party of Israel (CPI) activists staged a protest opposite the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv under the banner “Human Rights are Not Terror”.
Under the banner “Human Rights are Not Terror,” Hadash and Communist activists protested outside the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv on Tuesday evening, October 26, against Israel’s decision to designate 6 Palestinian human rights and civil organizations as terrorist groups. Among protesters is Adel Amer, second from left, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Israel. (Photo: Zo Haderech)
“In our upside-down world, in which a government that is deepening the occupation calls itself a ‘government of change,’ the defense minister dares to declare internationally respected human rights groups as terrorist organizations,” the Joint List said in a statement released following the meeting in Ramallah.
The delegation statement went on to say that Meretz and the Islamist Ra’am party, members of Bennett’s coalition, will have to decide which side they’re on: “The side of the occupation, annexation and apartheid or the side of peace, equality and democracy.”
Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman, who was among the CPI and Hadash delegates who met with the banned Palestinian groups, tweeted after the meeting that “We just met in Ramallah with the six NGOs Israel designated as terrorists. These groups are fighting against the greatest terror – the occupation. Meretz and Ra’am are just as responsible for this decision as Gantz is. We will fight against this attempt to pulverize Palestinian civil society.”
On Friday afternoon, October 24, Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced that six Palestinian civil society groups — including highly prominent ones with significant backing and oversight from the European Union and other international bodies — are being designated as terror organizations. The list includes the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees; Addameer — Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association; Bisan Center for Research and Development; al-Haq Organization; Defense for Children International — Palestine; and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees.
UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said Tuesday, October 26, that Israel’s blacklisting of six Palestinian rights organizations for their alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was an attack on human rights defenders, on the freedoms of association, opinion and expression, and on the right to public participation in civil society. She called for Israel’s move to be immediately revoked. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has said that anti-terrorism legislation should not be applied to legitimate human rights and humanitarian aid activities, she noted.
Academia for Equality: Unequivocally with Palestinian Civil Society
Academia for Equality, an organization of about seven hundred leftist lecturers from the Israeli academic community, committed to promoting a just and democratic future, expressed its unreserved support for the Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations targeted by Israel.
According to Academy for Equality, “Gantz, as Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces [sic], commanded operations in which Israeli military forces killed hundreds of Palestinian civilians, among them five hundred children under the age of 15, during the campaign known as Defensive Edge. Now, as Defense Minister, he has declared 6 prominent human rights and civil society organizations as designated terrorist organizations.”
“We at Academia for Equality, alongside our comrades from Scientists for Palestine, stood in solidarity with the Bisan Center and its director when he was persecuted and detained and when its offices were barraged by Israeli military forces. We maintain our long-standing relations and connections with Addameer, particularly concerning the defense of Palestinian students, arrested because of their political and student activities. These six organizations constitute the civil spinal cord of the Palestinian society; a society trying to maintain a proud stance of dignity and pride under the adverse condition of a brutal Israeli occupation.”
“Academia for Equality stands unequivocally with Palestinian civil society organizations. We call on the Israeli academic community to step out of its indifference, to sound alarms and to actively rejection and object to the persecution of civil, human rights and community organizations. We call on the international academic community and demand their speedy intervention and to exert its pressure to abrogate and rescind these abject bans and declarations,” the statement said.