The Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine Israel Network (EPF PIN) condemns the Israel Defense Ministry’s October 22 designation of six Palestinian human rights organizations as “terror organizations”. EPF PIN is very familiar with the six organizations:
- Al Haq is dedicated to protecting and promoting human rights and the rule of law
- Addameer is a prisoner support and human rights association
- Defense for Children International Palestine is committed to securing a just and viable future for Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip
- The Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees is a women’s advocacy group building a community free of all forms of discrimination, and acknowledges women’s rights as integral to liberation
- Union of Agricultural Work Committees is a Palestinian agricultural development organization that protects the rights of farmers & fisherfolk, and preserves the right to food security
- Bisan Center for Research and Development preserves Palestinian culture and promotes justice and dignity
Over several years members of EPF PIN have benefited from and relied on the integrity of these groups’ reporting, esteemed the accuracy and balance of their information, and met with officials of several of them in their offices in Palestine. We support their work with complete confidence and will continue to do so.
The Defense Ministry’s fear-mongering use of the “terror” epithet is cynical, dangerous, and unsubstantiated. This use of lawfare, “a tactic used by repressive regimes to label and discourage civil society or individuals from claiming their legal rights via national or international legal systems”, is sadly typical of an Israeli government whose actions frequently violate international law, occur in the dark of closed judicial proceedings, and are enforced at the point of a gun. Such actions affirm once again the discriminatory and separatist character of Israel’s government policies toward Palestinian people. Palestinian analyst Yara Hawari writes here of the way this designation fits the longstanding pattern of Israel’s criminalization of dissent.
EPF PIN urges members of The Episcopal Church to raise awareness of this ominous move in parishes and church offices, and to contact their elected government officials to ensure that legislation against human rights abuses is upheld while applying pressure to the government of Israel to rescind this designation.