Last week, the Israeli government placed 6 Palestinian human rights organisations on terrorist lists, although they work closely with Western governments and international human rights groups.
This move was met with widespread anger from global civil society as it was shocking to the international and local human rights circles.
In recent years, with the expansion of the Israeli occupation’s influence under the complicity and silence of many of the international community, the international civil society has become the last refuge for activists opposing Israel’s brutal treatment of Palestinians.
At the beginning of the new millennium, Israeli right-wing associations, Zionist funders in the Western world and many politicians were seeking to support the government’s efforts to suppress Palestinian voices and civil society activists, which made these parties subject of great criticism, especially since this policy did not target only Palestinian civil organisations, but even the Israeli ones.
Many Israeli civil organisations have come under constant attack in recent years, and since 2009, Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing allies in the government, began to impose new laws aimed at restricting human rights organisations and stifling their funding sources.
The right-wing government has found innovative ways to intimidate human rights organisations within Israel and Palestine. Later on, these policies were internationalised, as Israel allocated an entire ministry charged with leading its international efforts in this field, which is called the “Ministry of Strategic Affairs”, which received huge budgets, especially in 2015, and many of its activities have remained secret until today.
This ministry is proud that it works in the field of coordination, support, and empowerment of what it calls the “Network in Support of Israel,” a long list of international allies that cooperate with it; They sometimes receive direct funding from them.
This ministry has worked to pass unconstitutional legislation against the boycott campaign, and launched a judicial strategy that relied on prosecution as a weapon to intimidate or eliminate associations that monitor Palestinian rights, even if they are American associations.
In recent years, this ministry has been proud of having succeeded in assembling a network of allied actors, through whom it was able to pass repressive laws in the United States, Britain and France, in addition to filing dozens of lawsuits targeting civil activists around the world. transforming it into a department under the umbrella of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to secure legal and diplomatic protection for its employees.
Our organisation expects that the Palestinian human rights and civil institutions will be exposed to stopping their funding sources, freezing their bank accounts, and subjecting their allies to severe attacks, especially since Israel’s repressive arm in the world depends on a network of allies in various countries, and this is what we started to see when the six Palestinian institutions were closed and the assets were closed.
We believe that independent civil organisations are supposed to be forces that work in favor of democracy, monitoring authorities and providing space for dissent, debate and awareness. But the Israeli government is working to silence any voices speaking about its abuses, thus setting a bad example for many of the world’s dictatorships.