“These organisations are internationally respected because of the vital programmes they carry out to protect Palestinian society”
Addameer’s Sahar Francis read a statement on behalf of the banned NGOs [ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty-archive]
The New Arab, 07 April, 2022
The Carter Centre on Wednesday confirmed it would continue to support six Palestinian civil society groups controversially declared terrorist organisations by Israel.
The centre, established by ex-US President Jimmy Carter and his wife, concentrates on human rights and is also well known for monitoring elections.
“These organisations are internationally respected because of the vital programmes they carry out to protect Palestinian society, and the use of their voices to draw attention to human rights violations,” Carter Centre CEO Paige Alexander said at a Ramallah press conference.
She confirmed her organisation continues to fully back the six NGOs, The New Arab’s Arabic sister service, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, reported.
The six Palestinian NGOs banned by Israel last October strongly deny the Israeli claims against them.
They are Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), prisoners’ rights group Addameer, legal group Al-Haq, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees.
Alexander added: “More widely, we at the Carter Center recognise that these designations seek to delegitimise human rights organisations.”
“This is a troubling trend that can be noticed in many governments, using counter-terror laws as a guise for shrinking the space available to human rights defenders and civil society.”
She said the move “appears to be part of a broader strategy by the Israeli government to silence voices calling for accountability for the Israeli occupation authorities”.
Also at the Ramallah press conference on Wednesday were officials from the six NGOs banned by Israel.
DCIP chief Khaled Quzar said: “Israel has calmed down towards these institutions, but there are currently other practices beginning to be felt – the support and funding provided have changed, and pledges from donors are different.”
Addameer director Sahar Francis read a statement on behalf of the six NGOs. She said their criminalisation is an escalation and pushes Israel further towards officially annexing the Palestinian West Bank.
Francis noted that their prohibition also allows Israel to detain their workers, storm their offices and confiscate their property.
She called on activists and intellectuals to support them, including by contacting elected officials in their home countries.