More than 100 trade unions, political parties and human rights groups send letter to EU in defence of 6 Palestinian human rights organisations

Over 100 European political parties, trade unions, human rights organisations and civil society groups sent a letter to Josep Borell, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, outlining their grave concern at Israel’s decision to label six Palestinian human rights NGOs as “terrorist entities”.

The letter, states that the EU has not done enough to protect these Palestinian groups, calls for a clear rejection of the designation by the EU, and asks the EU to suspend the acceptance of Israel into the highly lucrative Horizon Europe research and development programme. 

Among the signatories of the letter are political parties like Sinn Féin (Ireland), Europe Ecologie Les Verts (France), Parti Communiste Français (PCF), People Before Profit (Ireland), BIJ1 (Netherlands), trade unions including major trade union confederations in Ireland, Italy and France.

Internationally, signatories include the International Federation for Human Rights, The Rights Forum, Via Campesina and others.

Text of the letter below and in PDF.

Letter in French.

Letter in ITALIAN

Brussels, 25 November 2021

Dear High Representative,

As organisations based in Europe, we would like to alert you to the extremely serious situation created by the slander of the State of Israel against six of the most important and internationally renowned Palestinian human rights organisations: Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al Haq – Law in the service of men, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International – Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.

After their classification as “terrorists” on 22 October, and with the subsequent military banning order on 7 November, they are in great danger: their premises may be invaded or closed down, their equipment confiscated, their leaders and staff arrested and their funding is put in danger. The protection services they provide to the Palestinian population, as well as their ability to inform international bodies about human rights violations in Palestine, are themselves jeopardised by this decision. The European Union must remain true to its own values; it must protect them.

The statement by the EEAS Spokesperson on October 28 was not commensurate with the gravity of this threat. By stating that the EU “takes such allegations extremely serious” and by “engaging Israeli authorities for more information”, it gives weight to allegations against partners that the European Union has known perfectly well for years, and it legitimises the idea that the State of Israel would have a legitimate reason to take up the issue. This is doubly false: firstly because these organisations are subject to Palestinian law, and the State of Israel has no business declaring them as unlawful, and secondly because the Israeli leaders who accuse them are the same ones who could be implicated by the ICC procedures, which themselves could be based on the information and investigation files provided by these NGOs.

We therefore ask you first of all for a much clearer public statement on this issue. In particular, we ask you to:

  • clearly reject the Israeli allegations and question their legitimacy,
  • publicly renew your confidence in these human rights organisations, which are doing  remarkable and indispensable work on the ground,
  •  formally ask the Israeli government to reverse its decisions to designate and subsequently ban them,
  •  inform all donors and financial intermediaries of your rejection of the decisions taken by the  State of Israel and of your confidence in the NGOs in question,
  • officially receive, at your level, the leaders of these NGOs and assure them of your full  support,
  • publicly and financially support the action of the ICC including the case for Palestine.

Beyond this indispensable statement, it is necessary to take action.

The first act that you can take, together with the European Commission of which you are Vice President, concerns the agreement to include Israel in the Horizon Europe research and development programme. While one can imagine that even the simple respect of the July 2013 guidelines was not frankly approved by Israel, the Commission probably wanted to make a “positive gesture” towards Israel by declaring on 18 October that the negotiations were over. We know the result: four days later, the State of Israel launched the most serious offensive in history against Palestinian human rights organisations. A few days later, on 30th October, the Israeli ambassador tore up the report of the UN Human Rights Council at the UN.

In such a context, the signing of this agreement, scheduled for 9 December, would be a disgrace for Europe. We ask you, Mr. High Representative, to take the necessary measures to suspend the signing of this agreement. This is a simple measure of decency. Beyond that, more binding measures will have to be taken if the State of Israel persists in its position.


    1. European Coordination of Committees and Association for Palestine (ECCP) – Europe

    2. Fédération Internationale pour les droits humains – FIDH

    3. Trócaire – Ireland

    4. Sinn Féin – political party – Ireland

    5. Europe Ecologie Les Verts – political party – France

    6. Confédération générale du travail (CGT) – trade union – France

    7. FIOM-CGIL – trade union – Italy

    8. Irish Congress of Trade Unions – trade union confederation – Ireland
    9. Unite the Union, Ireland Region – trade union – Ireland
    10. UNISON Northern Ireland – trade union – Ireland
    11. People Before Profit – political party – Ireland

    12. Parti Communiste Français (PCF) – political party – France

    13. Parti de Gauche – political party – France 

    14. Ensemble! – political party – France

    15. BIJ1 (Political party) – Netherlands

    16. Mouvement des Jeunes Communistes de France – political party France

    17. Confédération Paysanne – trade union – France

    18. Fórsa SENO Branch – trade union – Ireland

    19. Belfast and District Trades Union Council – trade union – Ireland

    20. Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign – Ireland
    21. Trade Union Friends of Palestine – Ireland

    22. MOC – Movement of Christian Workers – trade union – Belgium

    23. Union syndicale Solidaires – trade union – France

    24. Craigavon Council of Trade Unions – trade union – Ireland

    25. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) – MENA 

    26. European Coordination Via Campesina – Europe 

    27. European Trade Union Network for Justice in Palestine – Europe 

    28. Sadaka – The Ireland Palestine Alliance – Ireland
    29. Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH) – France

    30. Suomen Rauhanpuolustajat – Finnish Peace Committee

    31. Defence for Children International – Switzerland

    32. Defence for Children International – Belgium

    33. Students for Justice in Palestine Dublin City University – Ireland

    34. Fédération Syndicale Unitaire (FSU) – France 

    35. MRAP – France

    36. The Rights Forum – Netherlands

    37. Jewish Voice for Just Peace Ireland – Ireland
    38. Centre for Global Education – Ireland

    39. Cairde Palestine Belfast – Ireland

    40. Gaza Action Ireland – Ireland
    41. Academics for Palestine – Ireland

    42. MENA GROUP/Rete in difesa di (diritti umani e chi li difende) – Italy

    43. Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) – France
    44. Union des Progressistes Juifs de Belgique (UPJB) – Belgium 

    45. Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine (AURDIP)  – France

    46. British Committee for the Universities of Palestine – UK

    47. Plateforme des ONGs Françaises pour la Palestine – France

    48. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Finland

    49. Humanitas-Centre for global learning and cooperation – Slovenia

    50. Association Belgo-Palestinienne – Belgium

    51. France Palestine Mental Health Network – France

    52. Viva Salud – Belgium

    53. Union Juive Française pour la Paix – France

    54. ICAHD Finland – Finland

    55. Deutscher Koordinationskreis Palastina Israel (KOPI) – Germany

    56. European Legal Support Center – Netherlands

    57. Comite Pour Une Paix Juste Au Proche Orient – Luxembourg
    58. Cultura è libertà, una campagna per la Palestina – Italy

    59. AssopacePalestina – Italy

    60. DocP – BDS Nederland – Netherlands
    61. Nederlands Palestina Komitee – Netherlands
    62. Buendnis fuer Gerechtigkeit zwischen Israelis und Palaestinensern e.V. BIP – Germany

    63. BDS Berlin-  Germany

    64. Finnish-Arab Friendship Society – Finland
    65. Association pour le jumelage entre les camps de réfugiés palestiniens et les villes françaises  (AJPF) – France

    66. Pand – Performars and Artists for Peace – Finland

    67. Društvo UP Jesenice – Slovenia

    68. Belgian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (BACBI) – Belgium
    69. Mouvement de la Paix – France

    70. Une Autre Voix Juive – France

    71. Association des Travailleurs Maghrébins de France – France
    72. Collectif Judéo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Palestine – France

    73. Fédération des Tunisiens pour une Citoyenneté des deux Rives (FTCR) – France

    74. Vrede vzw – Belgium

    75. Dynamo International – Belgium

    76. Les Femmes en Noir – France

    77. Rete Romana di Solidarietà con il Popolo Palestinese – Italy

    78. Rete Antirazzista – Firenze, Italy

    79. Association France Palestine Solidarité Nîmes, France

    80. Association “Pour Jérusalem” – France

    81. Odv Salaam Ragazzi Dell’Olivo Comitato Di Tireste – Italy

    82. Forum Palestine Citoyenneté – France

    83. Comité de Vigilance pour une Paix réelle au Proche-Orient – France

    84. Assopace Palestina Firenze – Italy

    85. Chrétiens de la Méditerranée – France

    86. Associazione Cinema e Diritti – Italy

    87. Associazione di Amicizia Italo-Palestinese NLUS – Italy

    88. Comitato Pistoiese per la Palestina – Italy

    89. Donne in nero Italia – Italy

    90. COSPE – Italy

    91. CRED – centro di ricerca ed elaborazione per la democrazia – Italy 

    92. Campagna Ponti e non Muri di Pax Christi Italia – Italy

    93. Giuristi Democratici – Italy

    94. CPPI Saint-Denis [ Collectif Paix Palestine Israël] – France

    95. New Weapons Research Group – Italy

    96. Women in Black Vienna – Austria 

    97. Slovene Philanthropy –  Slovenia

    98. Not in Our Name – For a Just Peace in the Middle East – Czech Republic

    99. Collectif Faty Koumba – France

    100. La Courneuve Palestine – France

    101. Comité pour le Respect des Libertés et des Droits de l’Homme en Tunisie – France

    102. BDS Italia – Italy
    103. Stichting – Groningen-Jabalya – Netherlands

    104. UK-Palestine Mental Health Network – UK

    105. Wilpf – Finland

    106. Ipri-ccp – Italy

    107. Comunità delle Piagge – Italy

    108. Aderisco a nome del Comitato varesino er la Palestina – Italy

    109. Pro Palestina – Italy

    110. Stradafacendo – Italy