After the Israeli government had already designated six Palestinian organisations as terrorist in October 2021 without providing any evidence for its accusations, the Israeli army violently entered their offices in the occupied West Bank in the early hours of August 18, confiscated computers, servers as well as other equipment, welded their entrances shut and ordered their closure. Among the organisations affected are the long-standing medico partners Al Haq and UAWC.
medico international and eight other German organisations are taking a public stand against what appears to be the politically motivated criminalisation of Palestinian civil society by issuing the following statement, which appeared as an advertisement in the weekend edition of the German newspaper “taz” on September 3:
Last year, the Israeli government declared prominent Palestinian civil society institutions to be terrorist organisations without evidence. A few weeks ago, Germany and ten other European states, the US government and the European Union publicly announced that they had found no substantial evidence in the material presented to them to support the accusations, after carefully examining it. They reaffirmed their continued support for the Palestinian organisations. The Israeli army then raided their offices on August 18, to enforce their closure nonetheless.
Advocating for human rights, documenting rights violations, providing legal assistance to those affected and struggling for access to water and land are not terrorism, but are central parts of human rights work around the world.
The latest escalation in the Israeli government's actions is part of a global trend of repressive policies against human rights organisations: critics of unlawful policies are criminalised by terrorism and other charges and threatened with arbitrary arrest.
The affected organisations also raise their critical voices against human rights violations by the Palestinian Authority and its security apparatus. Banning them not only weakens the inner-Palestinian struggle for democracy and human rights, but also contributes to the preservation of the status quo, which is characterised by Israeli land grabbing and settlement construction in violation of international law.
We strongly condemn the unfounded designations and declare our solidarity with the internationally respected organisations and their staff in the occupied Palestinian territories and all those in Israel who work for human rights and respect for international law and are exposed to hostility there.
European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights e.V.
Forum Ziviler Friedensdienst e.V.
KURVE Wustrow e.V.
medico international e.V.
Oxfam Deutschland e.V.
pax christi – deutsche Sektion e.V.