PSC is alarmed by Israel’s attempts to define 6 key Palestinian human rights monitoring and civil society bodies terrorist organisations. The announcement came from the Israeli Defence Minister, Benny Gantz, widely suspected of ordering the committal of war crimes in Gaza in 2014.
The organisations listed are Addameer, Al-Haq, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and the Union of Palestinian Women Committees (UPWC). PSC has been proud to work with many of these organisations. All do crucial work in documenting Israel’s human rights violations and seeking to ensure it is held to account under international law.
These actions represent a significant escalation in Israel’s well documented and longstanding targeting of human rights defenders as a crucial part of its desire to be shielded from accountability for its violations of international law. It is the failure of the international community to act to address the body of evidence presented by Palestinian civil society and international human rights monitoring bodies that has provided Israel the confidence to take these further steps. These actions create an immediate and direct risk of illegitimate detention and arrest for the staff carrying out vital work for these organisations, as well as leaving the broader Palestinian society more vulnerable to continuing violations of their rights.
PSC affirms its solidarity with the groups targeted. We welcome the immediate and clear condemnation of these moves by leading international human rights monitoring agencies, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. We call upon the UK government to make clear that it will not take its lead from Israel, but will act to defend the status of human rights monitoring bodies to carry out their crucial work.