Shawan Jabarin, director of the al-Haq human rights group, walks in the organization's offices in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Oct. 23, 2021

Israel closes Palestinian rights groups it labeled terrorist

Troops raid offices of organizations alleged to work with outlawed terrorist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, sealing entrance doors and leaving notices declaring them closed

Associated Press |
Published: 08.18.22, 13:04
Israel raided the offices of several Palestinian advocacy groups it had previously designated as terrorist organizations, sealing entrance doors and leaving notices declaring them closed, the groups said Thursday.
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  • Israel has claimed some of these groups had ties to the militant Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a secular, left-wing movement with a political party as well as an armed wing that has carried out deadly attacks against Israelis. The groups deny Israel's claim.
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    Shawan Jabarin, director of the al-Haq human rights group, walks in the organization's offices in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Oct. 23, 2021
    Shawan Jabarin, director of the al-Haq human rights group, walks in the organization's offices in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Oct. 23, 2021
    Shawan Jabarin, director of the al-Haq human rights group, walks in the organization's offices in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Oct. 23, 2021
    (Photo: AP)
    Shawan Jabarin, director of al-Haq, one of the targeted groups, confirmed that forces raided the office. He said his staffers are still examining whether any document had been confiscated.
    Israeli troops "came, blew up the door, got inside, and messed with the files," he told The Associated Press.
    "These accusations are not new and Israel failed to convince even its friends," Jabarin said.
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    בני גנץ
    בני גנץ
    Defense Minister Benny Gantz
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    On Wednesday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz's office reiterated its claim that the groups "operate under the guise of performing humanitarian activities to further the goals of the PFLP terrorist organization, to strengthen the organization and to recruit operatives."
    Most of the targeted organizations document alleged human rights violations by Israel as well as the Palestinian Authority, both of which routinely detain Palestinian activists.
    The groups reportedly raided include al-Haq, a veteran, internationally respected Palestinian rights group; Addameer, which advocates for Palestinian prisoners; the Union of Palestinian Women's Committees; the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and the Bisan Center for Research and Development.
    Jabarin said "neighbors and strangers" who were nearby during Thursday's raid had opened the office in Ramallah as soon as the Israeli forces left, and that al-Haq's staff were inside and resuming their work.
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    The six NGOs Israel says covertly work with the terror group PFLP
    The six NGOs Israel says covertly work with the terror group PFLP
    The six Palestinian NGOs Israel accused of covertly working with the terror group PFLP
    (Photo: AP)
    "We don't take permission from any Israeli military or political official. We are proceeding, encouraged by our belief in the accountability and the international law," he said.
    Thursday's raids come seven months after Israel outlawed Al-Haq, Addameer, Bisan and others.
    The Israeli military said it closed seven institutions and seized their property in Thursday's raid. The military did not immediately claim the discrepancy in the numbers, between groups designated and groups raided.
    The Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank described the closure of the organizations as a "dangerous escalation and an attempt to silence the voice of truth and justice." Hussein al-Sheikh, a senior Palestinian official, said the PA will appeal to the international community to reopen the institutions.
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    Palestinians participate in a rally marking the 52nd anniversary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), in Gaza City
    Palestinians participate in a rally marking the 52nd anniversary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), in Gaza City
    Palestinians participate in a rally marking the 52nd anniversary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), in Gaza City
    (Photo: AP)
    Israel and Western countries consider the PFLP a terrorist organization.
    A Defense Ministry statement last year said some of the outlawed groups are "controlled by senior leaders of the PFLP and employ its members, including some who have participated in terror activity."
    It said the groups serve as a "central source" of financing for the PFLP and had received "large sums of money from European countries and international organizations," without elaborating.
    Israel has long accused human rights groups and international bodies of being biased against it and of singling it out while ignoring graver violations by other countries.
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