Israel bans 6 Palestinian Organisations
In mid-October 2021, the Israeli government listed 6 Palestinian NGOs, including Al Haq, Conscience and Besan, on its list of “terrorist groups,” due to their supposed links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Israeli Minister of Public Security Benny Gants, which endorsed the decision to ban those organisations, called on the world’s governments and international organisations to cut their ties with “organisations working to spread terrorism.”
The decision means that “the activities of these organisations shall be prohibited, thereby preventing donation and allowing for the arrest and prosecution of their employees and volunteers for their membership in a terrorist organisation”, which was condemned by human rights groups.
The six Palestinian organisations (Al-Haq, The Conscience, Bisan Centre for Research and Development, World Movement for the Defense of Children – Palestine Branch, Federation of Arab Women’s Committees, Union of Agricultural Labor Committees) denied the accusations, declaring that the Israeli decision was legally and internationally rejected for its serious consequences.
United Nations agencies denounce the decision
A statement by United Nations agencies and the Association of International Development Agencies described the Israeli decision as “further erosion of civil and humanitarian space.” It severely restricted the work of the six organisations that had worked with the international community, including the United Nations, for decades to provide basic services to countless Palestinians. They stressed that “previous allegations of misuse of our funds by partners of Palestinian civil society organisations have not been substantiated.
International human rights groups also denounced the move as an attack on Palestinian civil society, and foreign Governments – including those of the United States and European allies – questioned the resolution and asked to see evidence in support of this classification.
The former Minister of Internal Security of the Israeli Government, Gilad Ardan, had demanded that the European Union cut off funding to 14 Palestinian associations that he claimed were directly or indirectly linked to terrorist organisations such as Hamas and the Popular Front. At the time, the European Union’s Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, said that accusations about European Union support for incitement or terrorism are unfounded and unacceptable, and the report itself is inappropriate and misleading. However, Israeli attempts have not stopped and Gannets’ decision to ban the organisations was a far-reaching step in this fight.
Dutch Government cease funding of Palestinian Committees UAWC
This decision has influenced the Netherlands government, which said it will no longer fund one of the six major civil society and human rights organisations in Palestine, which Israel banned as “terrorist groups” in October 2021, despite no evidence of Israeli ‘terror’ claims made against Union of Agricultural Work Committees been found by external investigations committees.
In response, 60 humanitarian organisations in Europe to sign a letter calling on the new government not to comply with the Israeli request, as there is no evidence of its connection to terrorism.
International Communities and Human Rights Reactions
The 60 signatories group considered the designation as a culmination of years of aggressive campaigns by the Israeli government and groups affiliated with it, relentlessly targeting Palestinian civil society. They stated that the agenda behind these campaigns is to protect Israel from exposure and accountability for its grave violations of international law and human rights, enabling it to entrench its occupation, expand its annexation and deepen its apartheid in Palestine.
More than 100 international figures vowed to support the 6 banned Palestinian organisations and expressed their rejection of the Israeli decision. A report by the BBC confirmed that supporters included the movie star Mark Ruffalo, the singer Peter Gabriel and the writer Philip Pullman. The signatories, under the slogan “Stand with the Six,” denounced the Israeli military decision to ban the six organisations despite their human rights work.
GRW organisation urges the donors to take a moral stance against the constant attacks on Palestinian humanitarian NGOs, and promote a prosperous, sustainable civil society. Furthermore, donors should defend independent Palestinian humanitarian NGOs from any unjust constraints imposed on them. The UN and international NGOs should also support their local Palestinian partners in protecting the humanitarian space in the occupied Palestinian territories.