TEHRAN (Iran News) –Palestinian organizations who saw Israeli regime forces raid their property in the occupied territories last week have denounced the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden’s lethargic response saying Washington’s inaction puts their staff at risk of arbitrary detention and torture.
The regime raided seven civil society and human rights groups in the occupied territories last week. The same seven groups has been labeled as “terrorist groups” by Israel late last year. It’s a designation the regime uses every time it wants to continue its genocide campaign.
Israel’s war minister who handed down the designations against the groups is Benny Gantz, who is likely to be of much interest in the International Criminal Court’s investigation (opened last year) into war crimes in the occupied West Bank and the Besieged Gaza Strip.
The United States and Israel, as well as many of Tel Aviv’s European allies, some of whom have sent donations to the organizations targeted by Gantz, oppose the ICC’s investigation in Palestine.
Three of the organizations targeted – al-Haq, Addameer, and Defense for Children International, Palestine – have provided evidence for the ICC investigation.
Earlier this week, the U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said “we continue to seek additional information from our Israeli partners”. When asked why the U.S. would not forthrightly condemn Israel’s actions, Price said, “the Israelis have told us that they have information in their possession” that would supposedly justify taking action in (Washington’s eyes) against the groups.
During a webinar, Khaled Quzmar, the director of Defense for Children International, Palestine said “in the past, they used to work to silence us, and now they are working to eliminate us, eliminate our work and even the organization,”
Quzmar was summoned by Israeli regime forces, for an interview following the raids and says the person who contacted him also intimidated him by making it clear that he knew detailed information about Quzmar’s family members.
Speaking during the same conference, Shawan Jabarin, the director of al-Haq said Israel has not “faced ever, ever any real accountability,” Jabarin has also received what he described as a phone call of a threatening nature from the regime, that summoned him to a nearby military base but he refused to comply.
During a separate online conference, Susan Power a senior member of al-Haq said: “we’re looking at potential imprisonment of people on secret evidence and confidential files, and this lack of due process and this reliance on secret evidence goes all the way up [the Israeli regime ranks]”.
According to Western media sources, a classified report by the U.S. intelligence agency the CIA shows an inability in finding any evidence to support Israel’s move to label the NGOs as “terrorist organizations”.
This week, 24 UN-appointed independent human rights experts condemned Israel’s escalating attacks against Palestinian civil society in the occupied West Bank, describing it as “illegal and unacceptable”.
The experts encouraged UN Member States to use international law to end the abuses saying “these actions amount to severe suppression of human rights defenders and are illegal and unacceptable,”
The Israeli characterization of the organizations as “terrorist” and “unlawful” have also been condemned by the UN experts who pointed out these “designations and declarations are illegitimate and unjustifiable and no concrete and credible evidence substantiating Israel’s allegations has ever been provided,”
They said information presented by the Israeli regime to justify its decision to blacklist human rights groups as terror organizations had failed to convince donor governments and international organizations.
“Once again, it is clear that statements condemning and regretting Israel’s unlawful measures are not sufficient – it is time that words are followed by swift and determined action by the international community to put diplomatic pressure on Israel to restore the rule of law, justice, and human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory,” the experts added.
Rights groups have also roundly condemned the Israeli regime’s latest inhumane act against the Palestinians. International rights group Human Rights Watch joined more than 150 other similar organizations to issue a joint statement that read “these raids and closures represent the latest escalation in Israel’s widespread campaign aiming to silence and discredit any Palestinian individual or organization that dares to seek accountability for Israel’s grave human rights violation”.
The groups noted that the regime’s raids in the occupied territories represent the latest escalation in Israel’s widespread campaign aiming to silence and discredit any Palestinian individual or organization that dares to seek accountability for Israel’s grave human rights violations, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
The rights groups also highlight the “persecution of organizations and persons, by depriving them of fundamental rights and freedoms, because they oppose apartheid” is a method used by Israel, amounting to acts of apartheid prosecutable under the Rome Statute, to maintain its domination and oppression over the Palestinian people.
The occupying regime claims the organizations are front groups for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a political party with an anti-occupation resistance arm.
All seven organizations – al-Haq, the Bisan Center for Research & Development, Addameer, Defense for Children International, Palestine, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees and the Union of Health Work Committees, saw their offices raided by Israeli regime forces and forced to shut down after being issued with orders that declared the groups unlawful to operate.
Heavily armed Israeli troops seized equipment and in some cases, files from the raided offices. Defense for Children International-Palestine and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees say that Israeli troops seized files containing sensitive information regarding child clients and women. The targeted groups have been working in Palestine for decades and received international funding to support their work.
That includes providing legal representation to Palestinians held without charge or trial by Israel, international human rights advocacy, providing employment and social services to Palestinian women and farmers, providing health care to rural communities, promoting women’s and workers’ rights, and representing children who are tried in Israeli military courts against international law.
According to the UN experts, the regime interrogated the directors of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, al-Haq, and Defense for Children-Palestine, and three of the seven organizations shut down. They expressed particular concern over “threats” made by the regime against the organizations, including a public statement concerning al-Haq’s director.
The independent UN experts also called for accountability, urging the EU, the five permanent Security Council members, and all UN Member States to take concrete measures to protect the Palestinian organizations and staff whose offices were raided and closed.
When it comes to accountability, however, the regime has always found a haven in first and foremost the United States then the United Kingdom and others to expand its human rights violations, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. With Washington keeping silent over the matter, effectively backing Israel, the White House will no doubt provide the regime with opportunity to further trample on international law in its attempts to stop information, that could indict top Israeli officials of war crimes, from being sent to The Hague.
Despite the fact that the U.S. has been unable to support or condemn the designation of the groups nor has Washington entered the groups on its shaky terror list. Many countries, including allies of Israel, have rejected the terror designation as unfounded.
Because the international community is concurring with the organizations, they have been subjected to regular harassment and smear campaigns by Israel and its proxies for years, including military raids and the arrest and detention of their staff, in a bid to hinder their work and give Israel the green light to carry on its ethnic cleansing campaign.
- source : Tehrantimes