Israel declares war on 6 human rights organisations


On 22 October, the Israeli Defence Ministry declared that the human rights organisations Addameer, al-Haq, Defence for Children International–Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Bisan Centre for Research and Development and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees to be “terrorist organisations”. The Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, described the declaration as “an act characteristic of totalitarian regimes, with the clear purpose of shutting down these organisations”. It is certain that they now face the threat of possible closure, seizure of assets and the arrest of staff members. Expressions of support for the condemned groups could also now be criminalised.

One of the targeted organisations, Defence for Children International–Palestine (DCI–P) is the national section of the Geneva-based Defence for Children International, an NGO having consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, UNICEF, UNESCO, and the Council of Europe. B’Tselem says that it “stands in solidarity with our Palestinian colleagues, is proud of our joint work over the years and is steadfast to continue so.” Human Rights Watch and Amnesty, have released a joint statement deploring the failure of the international community to “challenge grave Israeli human rights abuses” which had led to the Israeli declaration. They have also condemned the move as an attack by the Israeli Government on the international human rights movement.

Al Haq has been exposing Israel’s Occupation and apartheid since 1979, Addameer supports political prisoners, seized under Israeli military Occupation, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees supports farmers resisting land-grabs and agricultural sabotage, the Bisan Centre for Research and Development advocates on behalf of civil and human rights and the progressive Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC) works to achieve real equity between men and women, as well all social classes.

Israel’s extreme, self-isolating measure illustrates the Zionist regime’s ideological blindness to human rights to a degree that has alarmed even its greatest ally. Reacting to the declaration, the US State Department Spokesperson, Ned Price, complained that “the Israeli government did not give us advance warning.” He said “we’ll be engaging our Israeli partners for more information regarding the basis for these designations”. Price took care to emphasise that: “We believe respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and a strong civil society are critically important to responsible and responsive governance.” He also declared that the US believes human rights organisations and civil society are also of critical importance for good governance.

No way to treat a child

Defence for Children International–Palestine‘s No Way to Treat a Child campaign believes the world should hold Israel accountable for its violations of Palestinian children’s rights. Children and adults in the West Bank of Palestine have been forced to live under Israeli military rule since 1967. The racist regime that controls their lives favours Israeli-only residents in illegally imposed (under international law) West Bank settlements. They live in accordance with Israeli civilian law but outside the settlements, separatist, foreign military rule dominates the Palestinian population. They have no say. Having consultative status with the United Nations, the DCIP informs the world that Israel is “the only country in the world that automatically and systematically prosecutes children in military courts that lack fundamental fair trial rights and protections. Israel prosecutes between 500 and 700 Palestinian children in military courts each year.”

The inhumanity of this is clear when “children typically arrive to interrogation bound, blindfolded, frightened and sleep deprived.” And it gets worse. On 18 October, Israeli police prevented a captive Palestinian woman, Najia Bisharat, from breastfeeding her three-month-old daughter for approximately four hours. Accused of throwing stones at an Israeli motor vehicle, which she emphatically denied, Najia was forced to wait, with her feet shackled, for an interpreter to attend her interrogation. Her baby was crying and a human rights supporter, who had arrived to give Najia support, begged the police to let the woman feed her baby. They refused, telling the activist he was being provocative.

We will not be silenced

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Opposition in Israel to the dystopian military Occupation of Palestine is growing. Shahar Perets, a conscientious objector, who spent her nineteenth birthday in prison, has already served two prison sentences for refusing to enlist in the Israeli Army. In prison, Shahar experiences the sharp end of Israel’s determination to hide its crimes with the denial of writing material. Outside of prison, she writes: “In prison, writing is in itself a form of activism. We can use it to share our message about our choice to refuse as a form of resistance to the occupation. By depriving me of the option to write in prison, the prison authorities hindered my ability to document what goes on behind bars, write articles and develop ideas and plan on how to share my experiences once I am released for a few days. The military does not want me to write, speak or share my thoughts. They are trying to silence me.

Shahar tells the world that it is “this silencing, this attempt to erase, hide and deny what is really happening, that makes me stand proud and declare my refusal publicly.” Israel is going to find that its attempt to silence world human rights organisations will meet with a similar response. In New Zealand, the Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa (PSNA) Chair, John Minto has reminded our government that it “must speak up and hold Israel to account for this savage attack on legitimate human rights organisations” and urged the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta, to “speak out and condemn outright Israel’s declaration of six Palestinian Human Rights organisations as “terrorist organisations”.

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Leslie Bravery is a Londoner with vivid World War Two memories of the Nazi blitz on his home town. In 1947/1948 His father explained to him what was happening to the Palestinians thus: “Any ideology or political movement that creates refugees in the process of realising its ambitions must be inhuman and should be opposed and condemned as unacceptable.” What followed confirmed this assessment of the Zionist entity a hundredfold. Now a retired flamenco guitarist, with a lifelong interest in the tragedy of what happened to the Palestinian people, he tries to publicise their plight. Because the daily injustices they suffer barely get a mention in the mainstream news media, Leslie edits/compiles a daily newsletter, In Occupied Palestine, for the Palestine Human Rights Campaign. These days, to preserve his sanity, he enjoys taking part in a drama group whenever possible!


  1. A bold and courageous move by Israel exposing the terrorists who hide their ultimate goal of Israel’s destruction behind “human rights” activism.

  2. Yes Andrew. Do go on. Not much to suggest any of the others are anything but legitimate. I think you’ll find that Israel is using the oldest trick in the book to discredit legitimate organisations by labelling them ” terrorist”.

  3. Are you sure those six organisations have no links to the Promise of the Hereafter Institute, or attended and signed the statement released at their recent “Promise of the Hereafter – Post-Liberation Palestine” conference Leslie? Because if they did, given the participants at that Hamas-sponsored conference agreed to the destruction of Israel, the redistribution of Israeli lands and the ethnic cleansing of Jews, that would be a promise to the “Palestinian” people and a direct terror threat to Israel no?
    And what’s with officials at the conference quoting from the Quran and referring to the Battle of the End of Days like there is some religious connection to the annihilation of Israel? Your colleague Lois Griffiths assures us there is none. Hamas wouldn’t deceive her or the young Ms Perets who appears to be quite ignorant of the fate that would await her should that battle come to pass. Surely they wouldn’t would they Leslie?

    • Your blatantly disingenuous smear does not become you Anne. Your first sentence would be the equivalent of suggesting, without evidence, that the Israeli Defence Ministry is a Kahanist Government agency ( .

      On the positive side, it is pleasing to follow up on your smear to find that Shahar Perets ( is one of a new generation of young Jewish conscientious objectors who are opposed to the inhumanity and abuse of human rights being inflicted on Palestinians by the Israeli Government. It is also suggested you should consign the ‘End of Days’ to the same trash-bin that ‘The Rapture’ and other religious ramblings deserve and concentrate on the inevitable Middle East War that is being fomented by Israel.

      Finally, Bravery has backed up his commentary with credible links and addressed issues that are referenced,. Perhaps you should take a lesson from how he presents his arguments.

      • Yes I must admit I do not have your skill with smear aom but worry not, I’m taking note from those of you who malign Israel and its defence against jihad while providing debatable links and often spurious evidence from anti-American and Arab nationalist sites.

        Given a jihad group which governs several million people and which is devoted to the destruction of Israel funded, organised, attended and provided speakers at the conference it would be highly unusual for there not to be some links with the 6 organisations in question. My question to Mr Bravery sought reassurance for readers of this blog that there were none – he appearing to be more knowledgeable about Gazan political groups and with more time on his hands to devote to these matters than do I.

        And sadly I am unable to take on board your suggestion I consign religious “ramblings” to the trash-bin. For in case you hadn’t noticed, such ramblings have motivated jihadists since 634, frequently leading to outstanding military conquest. The latest success was ousting the US from Afghanistan, acquiring $84b worth of top notch military equipment, $3 million from our govt and untold millions more which will flow from around the world into their corrupt coffers. This is how Taliban commander Muhammed Arif Mustafa thanks you: “It’s our belief that one day, mujahedin will have victory, and Islamic law will come not to just Afghanistan, but all over the world. We are not in a hurry. We believe it will come one day. Jihad will not end until the last day.” Do you think Hamas were not listening and duly emboldened by that Taliban victory? Would they consider Mustafa’s words religious ramblings?

  4. both sides behave like children and as long as outside actors on both sides continue to sanction their childlike tantrums (with financial and moral support) everybody should keep well away until the feuding children can sit at a table together.

    …I’m sick and tired of 2 lots of murderous bastards both trying to claim the moral high ground.

  5. Not generating much interest again are you Bravery? People have greater concerns these days than your endless boringly repetitive fulminations against Israel.

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