In light of the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Ms. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, (“U.S. Ambassador”), current visit to Israel, Palestine and Jordan, and following statements reporting that the Ambassador will not meet with representatives of the six targeted Palestinian Civil Society organizations (“CSOs”), and the pledged normalization by the U.S. Ambassador, the undersigned organizations issue the following statement.
London-based “Alquds Alarabi” newspaper, reported a State Department official, whose name and title were kept anonymous, stated that: “Ms. Thomas-Greenfield will not meet any of the representatives of the Palestinian civil society and human rights organizations which Israel had recently designated as ‘terrorist’ organizations.” The official resumed "we will announce the other civil society organizations that the Ambassador will meet with during her visit, but meeting civil society organizations in general is important for us."
On 15 November 2021, the U.S. Ambassador provided her remarks to the Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, before their meeting in Jerusalem, confirming US support for the “Abraham Accords” and for Israel’s normalization agreements with countries in the region. In the light of the abovementioned, and the stated purpose of Ms. Greenfield’s visit, we, the undersigned Palestinian civil society organizations, declare the following:
1- We highly value the position of all States, as well as international, regional, national and multilateral organizations, who have condemned the Israeli designation of the six Palestinian CSOs as “terrorist organizations”. We refer in particular to the positions of Ireland in rejecting these designations, and Norway in calling for a reversal of these unlawful actions. The designations disregard the basic human rights to freedom of expression, and are tantamount to inhumane acts of apartheid intended to erase and silence Palestinian civil society.
2- In addition, our organizations stress and share the position declared by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Michelle Bachelet: "Claiming rights before a UN or other international body is not an act of terrorism, advocating for the rights of women in the occupied Palestinian territory is not terrorism, and providing legal aid to detained Palestinians is not terrorism."
3- Further, we recall the joint position of the UN Special Rapporteurs who condemned the designations stating: “This designation is a frontal attack on the Palestinian human rights movement, and on human rights everywhere… Silencing their voices is not what a democracy adhering to well-accepted human rights and humanitarian standards would do. We call upon the international community to defend the defenders.” Further the UN special rapporteurs explained that “anti-terrorism legislation is designed for a specific and restricted purpose, and must not be used to unjustifiably undermine civil liberties or to curtail the legitimate work of human rights organizations”.
4- Israel’s defamation of Palestinian CSOs is not new. Attacks against Palestinians CSOs have been on the rise for more than 15 years, since the Durban Conference against Racism, and intensified following increasing demands to sanction Israel. Israeli attacks against Palestinian civil society especially heightened following the accession of the State of Palestine to the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court. They further escalated with the Office of the Prosecutor's subsequent decision to open an investigation into the Situation in Palestine, into war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed by the Israeli authorities and Israeli Occupying Forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
5- Critically, Israel’s settler colonial policies and practices alongside it’s institutionalized and discriminatory apartheid regime continue to threaten the Palestinian people’s enjoyment of their basic human rights, including their inalienable right to self-determination, permanent sovereignty over natural and national resources, and collective right of return to their homes, which together form the primary obstacle to a viable contiguous independent Palestinian State. Further, the prolonged nature of the military occupation, now in its 54th year, has been maintained through the orchestration of grave violations of international law including war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed by Israeli individuals with impunity.
6- The main task of our institutions and of Palestinian human rights defenders is to work towards an end to the occupation, the dismantling of the apartheid regime and towards the realization of our collective human rights to self-determination and the right of return.
7- The purpose of the visit, has been to reportedly, "explore ways of strengthening normalization agreements such as the “Abraham Accords. Our organizations stress that economic benefit and “peace in the region” are merely a fig leaf. “Peace” which does not include the realization of the rights of all Palestinians will be one without justice, and so will be no peace at all. Our organizations restate the words of Al-Haq General Director Shawan Jabarin that, “It is now time, for the international community and the Palestinian people to collectively rise up and resist this egregious regional normalization, to ensure the realization of our people to self-determination and permanent sovereignty, and to prevent Israeli and regional measures towards the erasure of our people, culture, lands and home.”
8- The undersigned organizations therefore declare that they will not meet with the U.S. Ambassador. We further call upon all other Palestinian organizations to adopt a similar position and demonstrate their clear and principled refusal to refuse the normalization of the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.
9- Let this be a clear- the Israeli attack on the six Palestinian civil society organizations is an attack on Palestinian civil society as a whole. The U.S. Ambassador’s unwillingness to meet with the representatives of the six CSOs on her visit only reinforces Israel’s attack which aims to undermine and delegitimize the human rights work of Palestinian civil society. We further call on diplomatic missions, parliamentary representatives, and international organizations to reject and condemn the unlawful designation of the six Palestinian CSOs, to pressure the United States to condemn Israel’s designation and call for its rescission.
- Al Haq Organization - Law in the Service of Mankind
- ADDAMEER Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
- DCI - Defense for Children International - Palestine
- Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center
- Aldameer Association for Human Rights
- Hurryyat - Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights
- Treatment & Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (TRC)
- The Civil Institute for Judicial Independence and the Rule of Law – ISTIQLAL
- Women's Studies Centre
- Alrowwad Cultural and Arts Society
- MA'AN Development Center
- The Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development (PWWSD)
- Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association
- Rural Women's Development Society
- Arab Agronomists Association
- Afkar for Educational and Cultural Development
- Land Research Center
- Palestinian Counseling Center
- Arab Center for Agricultural Development
- Marsad Arabi for Democracy and Elections (Al Marsad)
- Sharek Youth Forum
- Miftah - The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy
- Teacher Creativity Center
- The Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession
- Aman-Transparency Palestine
- The Palestinian Association for Empowerment and local Development - REFORM
- Burj Al-Luqluq Social Center
- Palestinian Medical Relief Society
- The Community Action Center-Al Quds University
- Mothers School Society
- Union of Agriculture Work Committees
- Al-Awda Childhood and Youth Rehabilitation Center
- Sareyyet Ramallah
- GENERAL UNION OF CULTURAL CENTERS
- Abdel ـ Shafi Community Health Association ( ACHA)
- Al Najda Social Association
- Al Sattar Garbee Association for Developing Countryside and Farmer
- Al Tawasol Forum Society (TFS)
- Al-Dar Rural Association
- ALFoukhary Association For Development and Culture
- AL-Karmel Cultural and Social Development Association
- Almanal Society for Developing the Rural Women
- Basma Society for Culture and Arts
- Deir El Balah Social & Cultural Center
- Deir El-Balah Rehabilitation Society
- El Wafaa Charitable Society
- Gaza Culture & Development Group
- Gaza Urban Agriculture Platform
- General Union of Workers of Agriculture and Food Processing
- Ghassan Kanafani Development
- Jabalia Rehabilitation Society
- Labor Resources Center
- National Society for Rehabilitation
- Palestinian Center of Organic Agriculture
- Palestinian Farmers Union
- Palestinian Woman’s Union
- Rural Women’s Development Society
- The Assembly Benevolent of Operation
- The Eastern Association for Agriculture
- The National Society for Democracy and Law
- The Palestinian Hydrology Group /Gaza
- The Palestinian Institute for Communication and Development
- Union of Health Care Committees
- Union of Health Work Committees
- Union of Palestinians Women's Committees
- Wefaq Society for Woman & Child Care
- Women's Affairs Center /Gaza
- Youth Development Foundation