The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates unequivocally condemns and rejects the unhinged assault on Palestinian civil society by Israeli occupation authorities, particularly the decision by Israel’s “defense” minister to declare six leading human rights and other civil society organizations as “terrorist.” This fallacious and libelous slander is a strategic assault on Palestinian civil society and the Palestinian people’s fundamental right to oppose Israel’s illegal occupation and expose its continuing crimes. This outrageous step is the latest in a systemic and relentless campaign against Palestinian civil society organizations and leading human rights defenders. Israel was obviously encouraged and emboldened by the disappointing and lackluster international reactions regarding previous targeting of Palestinian human rights organizations, including recent raids on Defense for Children International – Palestine, the Bisan Center for Research and Development and others.
The Ministry warns of possible serious consequences from this unprecedented assault and holds Israel, the occupying power, fully responsible for the safety of the organizations’ staff. Further, the Ministry calls on the international community and all relevant actors, who have been regularly apprised of this systemic assault, to rise to the occasion and defend these organizations’ right to work without persecution and the Palestinian people’s fundamental right to advocate for their freedom. Particularly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expects that the United Nations Secretary General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to speak out immediately and forcefully against these measures and to take all possible actions to defend these leading Palestinian civil society organizations. Finally, the Ministry will continue to lead efforts to defend these and other Palestinian civil society organizations.