Last week, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz declared that six prominent Palestinian rights groups — Al Haq; Addameer; Defense For Children International-Palestine; Bisan; the Union of Agricultural Work Committees; and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees — were “terrorist organizations.”
As the Association of Civil Rights in Israel notes, “neither evidence nor proof of the serious charge have been provided.” Unfortunately, Palestinian civil society and human rights organizations have long faced such spurious accusations from certain Israeli politicians and right-wing commentators. But the consequences of these designations from the Defense Ministry are much more severe and alarming. Employees, activists, donors, and others affiliated with these organizations are now potentially subject to prosecution.
We, the undersigned, support the two-state solution. We want to see a safe, secure, and democratic Israel living side-by-side with a viable and independent Palestine. While we believe that negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian leadership remain the best possible path to ending the occupation, we also state unequivocally that Palestinians have a right to nonviolently resist and oppose the occupation.
The organizations targeted by the Defense Ministry are doing just that. While we may not agree with every single statement and objective of these groups, we cannot afford to be silent in light of this naked attempt at suppression. Supporters of a liberal and democratic Israel have an obligation to speak out against this decision.
We call on the Israeli government to reverse the designations, and for Israel’s friends and allies in the world to actively encourage it to do so.