Today, Al-Haq sent letters to European Union and Third States calling on them to publicly condemn and call for the full rescinding of Israel’s designation of Palestinian human rights NGOs as “terrorist organisations”. On the 19 October 2021, the Israeli Ministry of Defense announced the unprecedented, draconian and authoritarian designation of six eminent Palestinian human rights and civil society organisations as “terror organizations” under Israel’s domestic Anti-Terrorism Law, 2016. The targeted organisations are: Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man (Al-Haq), Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC).
The designations are a further step in Israel’s orchestrated smear campaign against the organisations, aiming to delegitimize their essential human rights work, and detract any (international) financial support by methods of intimidation, in order to silence their independent monitoring and documentation of Israel’s human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT). As such, the designation puts the staff and resources of these organisations at immediate risk by practically equating their essential, independent and nonpartisan human rights work with that of terrorist organisations. Israel’s Anti-Terrorism Law, 2016 provides for a sweeping catalogue of extraordinary and mandatory penalties for leadership, management and membership of a designated terrorist organisation, placing the lives of Palestinian human rights defenders in the six organisations at immediate risk, of arbitrary arrests and prosecution for their human rights work.
Al-Haq has worked for decades to monitor and document Israel’s human rights violations and oppressive policies and practices, working towards the realisation of self-determination of the Palestinian people as a whole. In doing so, Al-Haq is one of the leading Palestinian organizations calling for accountability and an end to Israel’s impunity for human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is no coincidence that Israel’s recent escalation of punitive measures against Al-Haq and fellow civil society organisations, has come in the immediate aftermath of the opening of an International Criminal Court investigation into Israel’s crimes in the Situation in Palestine. To that end, Al-Haq will tirelessly maintain its efforts to ensure that Israeli perpetrators of mass atrocity crimes are held individually criminally liable.
Due to the gravity of the current developments we urge Third States to publicly condemn Israel’s acts and to take a strong stance in directly calling on Israel’s Minister of Defence to formally and immediately rescind the designations. The targeting of civil society organisations is an egregious breach of the right to freedom of expression, and self determination of the Palestinian people. Further, the designation of human rights organisations to obstruct their work in the pursuit of international justice amounts to a collective penalty against the protected occupied population, a war crime under international law, and an egregious act of the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.
For these reasons Al-Haq calls on Third States to:
- Publicly condemn in an official statement Israel’s designation of Palestinian human rights and civil society organisations as “terrorist organisations” as an internationally wrongful act;
- Use their good offices to demand that Israel fully rescind the “terrorist” designation of the six Palestinian human rights and civil society organisations, with immediate effect;
- Ensure that banks and financial institutions located in their territories and under their jurisdiction, are put on notice to dismiss as inapplicable, Israel’s terrorist designation of the six Palestinian organisations;
- To intervene to pressure Israel to revoke its Anti-Terrorism Law, 2016, as incompatible with basic human rights standards.
 Article II(c), International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid G.A. res. 3068 (XXVIII)), 28 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 30) at 75, U.N. Doc. A/9030 (1974), 1015 U.N.T.S. 243, entered into force July 18, 1976.
 Article 7(1)(h), Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court