27 December 2021
Two months ago, in October 2021, Israel outlawed six of the leading Palestinian human rights and civil society groups, however, the organizations have not received any of the evidentiary materials that the Israeli authorities purport to justify this draconian, sweeping measure. The organizations have repeatedly and publicly demanded the materials, with no response whatsoever.
Last week, the legal team representing the organizations sent a letter to the Israeli authorities demanding that they reveal all of the evidence forming the bases of the designations. There is no justice, fairness or due process for the organizations, without access to these materials in their entirety in order to defend themselves.
On 19 October 2021, Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz designated six leading Palestinian human rights and civil society groups as "terrorist organizations" under Israel's domestic Counter-Terrorism (Anti-Terror) Law (2016). The six groups are: Addameer, Al-Haq, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and the Union of Palestinian Women's Committees (UPWC). The Israeli military commander also outlawed all six groups under the 1945 Emergency (Defense) Regulations, declaring them "unlawful associations".
The legal team argued in the letter that the designations constitute a blatant political decision aimed at destroying Palestinian civil society, based on arbitrary law and emergency measures. These groups are most vocal against Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies locally and internationally and provide needed services to a wide range of Palestinian communities.
These baseless designations aim to delegitimize and discredit the work of these groups, placing the organizations, their staff, and their supporters in danger of criminal charges. The organizations did not receive any information prior to the issuance of the designation orders, and no warnings despite the immediate and severe implications of the designations. To date, they have had no meaningful opportunity to review and challenge the bases of the designations, as no evidence has been provided to them.
The six organizations remain steadfast in their efforts to fight against Israel's illegal and illegitimate attack to silence the Palestinian people and their struggle for justice. Over the past two months, UN human rights experts, civil society and development organizations, academics and more from around the world have condemned Israel's designations, standing in solidarity with the Palestinian Six and increasing their support for the Palestinian cause.
The six organizations are currently represented by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Attorney Michael Sfard, and Attorney Avigdor Feldman.
Adalah’s Expert Opinion:
- Israel’s 2016 Counter-Terrorism Law and 1945 Emergency Regulations Regarding the Outlawing of Six Palestinian Human Rights and Civil Society Groups 23 November 2021
Adalah’s Position Paper:
- Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Law 31 October 2016 / UPDATED 29 November 2021
Related press releases
- In an expert opinion, Adalah analyzes Israel’s legal measures to outlaw Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations 25 November 2021
- Adalah's initial response to Israel's declaration of 6 Palestinian human rights group as ‘terrorist organizations’ 22 October 2021
- Joint Statement of Palestinian NGOs in Israel 25 October 2021