ECCP, a coalition of 40 organisations from 20 European countries, strongly condemns yesterday’s raids by Israeli army of seven leading Palestinian NGO’s, six of which it has already criminalised last year based on false allegations.
The recent attack and escalation creates an existential threat to Palestinian civil society, It creates an immediate risk for their staff members, and leaves Palestinians more vulnerable to continuing violations of their rights.
The seven organisation under attack are: Addameer – a prisoners support association, Al Haq – a human rights association, Bisan – a research and development center for marginalised Palestinian communities, Defense for Children International – Palestine, Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Union of Palestinian Women Committees, Health Workers Committees.
Israel attacked the NGOs shortly after ten European governments had dismissed Israel’s allegations as unsubstantiated. While important, this position by the European governments falls far short of what should have been said and done to counter Israel’s attack on Palestinian civil society.
Instead of trapping themselves in Israel’s false and fabricated allegations, European governments should have viewed and treated Israel’s actions as what they are: Israel’s ultimate attempt to shrink civic space for Palestinian human rights defenders in order to prevent them from further evidence collection ahead of the ICC investigation.
To address the severity of yesterday’s attack, we demand that the European governments and the EU as a whole:
- Unequivocally condemn Israel’s raids, vandalism and closures of the offices;
- Qualify these actions as grave attacks on civic space and human rights defenders;
- Express solidarity with the seven NGOs and Palestinian civil society at large;
- Confirm to each of the seven NGOs concerned that they are assured of continued financial and moral support from the EU;
- Publicly commit themselves to intensifying their efforts to effectively protect the NGOs under attack and their board and staff members;
- Cancel the upcoming EU-Israel Association Council meeting.
We, at ECCP, stand firmly in solidarity with the seven Palestinian NGO’s under attack and will continue to work closely with and support our Palestinian partners.