Israel’s Army of Occupation Outlaws 5 Palestinian NGOs

Despite local and international criticism, the Israeli military regime in the occupied West Bank announced on Sunday, November 7, that it has outlawed five Palestinian rights groups following a decision last month by Defense Minister Benny Gantz. A sixth group that was similarly declared a “terrorist organization” by Gantz had already been banned by the occupation army last year. With these official steps, the military was granted the power to shutter the organizations’ offices and arrest their members, among other sanctions.

Al-Haq’s “Don’t Buy into Occupation” coalition released past month its first report exposing European financial institutions’ involvement in Israel’s settlement enterprise

The six illegal Palestinian organizations include: Al-Haq, Addameer, Defense for Children International-Palestine, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees. Gantz’s designation of the groups as terrorist organizations last month had comparatively little immediate impact, as they operate within the West Bank and are thus officially outside of Israel’s jurisdiction.

Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash) slammed the army’s decision to outlaw the Palestinian rights groups. “The persecution of six human rights groups in the occupied West Bank is now transitioning to practical steps,” she said. “The groups’ workers are in danger of being arrested, and the organizations themselves face being closed. Israel is trying to destroy Palestinian civil society and to turn human rights advocacy into an act of terror.”

On Sunday, November 7, Al-Haq strongly condemned the military order issued by the head of Israel’s Central Command to transpose the organization’s designation of one dealing in “terror” to one that is entirely illegal. “The military order constitutes a dangerous and alarming move to execute and implement its designation of Palestinian organizations, putting Al-Haq, its staff members and their property, at imminent risk of raid, arrests and reprisals.”

A confidential Israeli dossier detailing alleged links between Palestinian human rights groups and an internationally designated terrorist organization contains little concrete evidence and failed to convince European countries to stop funding the groups, the Associated Press reported Friday night, November 5.

The 74-page document appears to have been prepared by Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service and was shared with European governments in May. The Associated Press obtained the document from the online +972 Magazine, which was the first to report on it, along with the Hebrew-language Local Call.