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The International Community Must Support and Protect Palestinian Civil Society

3 November 2021

As a group of 242 regional and international organizations, we express our full solidarity with Palestinian civil society and human rights defenders as Israel continues to escalate its attacks to shut down critical human rights work and silence opposition to its occupation of Palestinian territory and apartheid over the Palestinian people as a whole. We urge the international community to take all necessary action to support and protect Palestinian civil society and human rights defenders and ensure the continuation of their invaluable work.


On 19 October 2021, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz designated six leading Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist organizations, including Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man (Al-Haq), Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC).


The Israeli government has continued to intensify its attacks on independent Palestinian human rights organizations and their staff, who regularly face smear campaigns, spurious accusations of links to terrorism as well as threats and intimidation, travel bans and movement restrictions, and arrest for their work. Independent Israeli and international organizations have also been targeted by Israel for their work documenting and advocating against Israel’s human rights violations. Israel’s actions clearly follow the pattern set by authoritarian states in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and around the world.

Palestine - Joint Solidarity Statement in support of the 6 Palestinian CSOs.png

This unprecedented designation is merely the latest escalation in Israel’s widespread and systematic institutionalized campaign that has aimed to silence and discredit any Palestinian individual or organization that dares seek accountability for Israel’s grave human rights violations, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The “persecution of organizations and persons, by depriving them of fundamental rights and freedoms, because they oppose apartheid” is one of the methods used by Israel to maintain its domination and oppression over the Palestinian people.


On 18 October 2021, the Israeli Interior Minister announced the official revocation of the Jerusalem residency status of Palestinian-French human rights defender and lawyer Salah Hammouri based on “breach of allegiance” to the State of Israel, opening the way for more widespread use of residency revocation on this basis, putting thousands of Palestinians in Jerusalem at risk of arbitrary and punitive measures leading to their forcible transfer.

UN experts condemned the designations of the six NGOs as terrorist organizations “a frontal attack on the Palestinian human rights movement, and on human rights everywhere” and called upon the international community to “defend the defenders.” The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called on Israel to revoke the designations, affirming that "claiming rights before a UN or other international body is not an act of terrorism, advocating for the rights of women in the occupied Palestinian territory is not terrorism, and providing legal aid to detained Palestinians is not terrorism". The designation has also been condemned by other international actors, including members of the US House of Representatives, European Parliamentarians as well as international civil society.


The designation presents a challenge to the international community, especially democratic states that speak out and support independent human rights organizations and defenders in other parts of the world. Remaining silent is insufficient given the urgent support and protection needs of the six organizations that are now at an additional risk of raids, confiscation of property and materials, closure of bank accounts, arrest of staff members, and closure of their offices. Israel’s attacks against these organizations pose an existential threat to independent Palestinian human rights organizations and civil society who work to monitor and document violations of human rights and provide basic services to the Palestinian people.

We call upon the international community to publicly condemn and reject Israel’s designation of Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations as “terrorist organizations” as an internationally wrongful act, to call for Israel to immediately rescind the designation, and to demand Israel repeal its Anti-Terrorism Law (2016) as it does not meet basic human rights standards and to end all other actions that deny Palestinians their inalienable human rights. We also urge members of the international community to publicly show support for the six organizations and Palestinian civil society at large.

Further, the international community, especially the European Union and its member states who are key supporters of and donors to Palestinian civil society, should ensure that banks and financial institutions in their jurisdiction are notified Israel’s designation of Palestinian organizations is unfounded and inapplicable.


1. 11.11.11

2. Abna Al-Quds Club

3. Action for Change and Democracy in Algeria

4. AFKAR for Educational & Cultural Development

5. Agir pour le Changement et la Démocratie en Algérie (ACDA)

6. Al Ataa Charitable Society

7. Albanian Human Rights Group

8. Al Dameer Association for Human Rights

9. Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man

10. Al Karmel Culture and Social Development Association

11. Al-Marsad Arab Human Rights Center in Golan Heights

12. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights

13. Altawasol Forum Society

14. Aman Organization Against Discrimination

15. ANSWER Coalition

16. Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem

17. Arab Canadian Lawyers Association

18. Arab Center for Agricultural Development

19. Artists for Palestine UK

20. Asha Parivar

21. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

22. Associació Hèlia

23. Asociación Paz con Dignidad

24. Association Africaine de Défense droit de l’Homme (ASADHO)

25. Association Belgo-Palestinienne WB

26. Association des Magistrats Tunisiens

27. Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine (AURDIP)

28. Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS)

29. Association Internationale de Soutien aux Prisonniers Politiques

30. Association Nachaz

31. Association pour le Droit à la Différence (ADD)

32. Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates

33. Association Tunisienne de Soutien des Minorités

34. Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children

35. Australia Palestine Advocacy Network

36. Australian Centre for International Justice

37. Bait Lahia Youth Association Center

38. BankTrack - Netherlands

39. Basma Society for Culture and Arts

40. Basmeh & Zeitooneh

41. Baytna

42. Beity

43. Belady Foundation for Human Rights

44. Belgian Campaign for an Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

45. BDS País Valencià

46. Broederlijk Delen

47. Business and Human Rights Resource Center (BHRRC)

48. Bytes For All

49. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)

50. Canada Palestine Association

51. Canadian BDS Coalition

52. Canadians for Peace and Justice in Kashmir

53. Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME)

54. Canada Palestine Friendship Society

55. Carleton University Students for Justice in Palestine

56. Catholics for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land

57. Center for Civil Liberties

58. Center for Constitutional Rights

59. Center for Defense of Liberties & Civil Rights (Hurryyat)

60. Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR)

61. Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO)

62. Central Blood Bank Society

63. Coalition of African Lesbians

64. Committee for the Respect of Freedoms and Human Rights in Tunisia

65. Committee on the Administration of Justice (Northern Ireland)

66. Community Empowerment and Social Justice Network (CEMSOJ)

67. Community Media Center

68. Conectas Direitos Humanos

69. Confederación Intersindical Galega (CIG)

70. Congregations of St. Joseph

71. Citizen News Service (CNS)

72. Citoyenneté, Développement, Cultures et migrations des deux Rives

73. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

74. CNCD-11.11.11

75. Collectif des Familles de Disparus en Algérie (CFDA)

76. Cooperazione Internazionale Sud Sud (CISS)

77. Cultura è libertà una campagna per la Palestina

78. De-Colonizer

79. Defence for Children International - Italy

80. DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)

81. Defender Center for Human Rights

82. Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN)

83. docP - BDS Netherlands

84. Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt, NY

85. Dr. Haider Abdel Shafi Center for Culture & Development

86. Edmonton Run for Palestine

87. Egyptian Front for Human Rights

88. EuroMed Rights

89. European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP)

90. European Legal Support Center (ELSC)

91. European Trade Union Network For Justice in Palestine (ETUN)

92. Fagforbundet

93. Fares Arab Foundation for Development

94. FIAN International

95. Finnish-Arab Friendship Society

96. Free Gaza Australia

97. Fundación Mundubat

98. Gaza Action Ireland

99. General and Autonomous Confederation of Workers in Algeria (CGATA)

100. General Confederation of the Portuguese Workers (CGTP-IN)

101. Gibanje za pravice Palestincev

102. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

103. Grassroots AlQuds

104. Groupe LOTUS

105. Grup de Suport a Juani Rishmawi

106. Gruppo Ibriq per la cultura e la causa Palestinese

107. Hassan El Saadawi Association for Democracy and Equality

108. Human Rights and Democracy Center (SHAMS)

109. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

110. International Accountability Project

111. International Association for the Support of Political Prisoners

112. International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)

113. International Commission to Support Palestinian Rights

114. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)

115. International Women's Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW AP)

116. Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign

117. Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)

118. Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)

119. Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) - Finland

120. Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) - Germany

121. Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions UK 122. Jabalia Rehabilitation Society

123. Joussour De Citoyenneté

124. Just Peace Advocates

125. Jurists without Chains

126. Justice for Iran

127. Justitia Center for Legal Protection of Human Rights in Algeria

128. Kairos Ireland

129. Kairos Sabeel Netherlands

130. Kenya Human Rights Commission

131. Land Research Center

132. Leadership Team of the Dominican Sisters and Associates of Racine, WI

133. League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)

134. Lebanese Center for Human Rights

135. Libya Al-Mostakbal

136. Libyan Center for Freedom of the Press

137. Libyan Network for Legal Aid

138. Libyan Women's Platform for Peace

139. Ligue Algérienne de Défense des Droits de L'homme

140. Ligue des droits de l'Homme

141. Ligue Suisse des Droits de l'Homme - Genève

142. MA'AN Development Center

143. MADRE - USA

144. Maine Voices for Palestinian Rights

145. Makan

146. MakeShiftPublishing BV

147. Manushya Foundation

148. Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

149. MENA Rights Group

150. Mwatana for Human Rights

151. Nā Pua Kūʻē – Hawaiʻi Dissenters

152. National Autonomous Union of Public Administration Staff (SNAPAP)

153. National Fisheries Solidarity

154. National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT)

155. Netherlands Palestine Committee

156. Niagara Movement for Justice in Palestine-Israel (NMJPI)


158. New Weapons Research Group onlus

159. Oakville Palestinian Rights Association

160. Odhikar

161. One Justice
162. Organisation 23_10 d'Appui au Processus de Transition Démocratique

163. Österreichische Liga für Menschenrechte

164. Our Revolution Northern Virginia (ORNOVA)

165. Palestina Solidariteit vzw

166. Palästina Spricht

167. Palestinakomiteen i Larvik-Sandefjord

168. Palestine Link

169. Palestine Solidarity Alliance of South Africa

170. Palestine Solidarity Campaign - Britain (England, Wales, and Scotland)

171. Palestine Solidarity Campaign - Gauteng (Johannesburg)

172. Palestine Solidarity Campaign - Cape Town

173. Palestinian Solidarity Group at Mount Holyoke College

174. Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA)

175. Palestinian Assembly for Liberation

176. Palestinian Children in Israeli Military Prisons (PIM)

177. Palestinian Counseling Center

178. Palestinian Youth Movement

179. Pax Christi Flanders

180. Pax Christi USA

181. PeaceWomen Across the Globe

182. Plan International - Jordan

183. Platform of French NGOs for Palestine

184. Portuguese League for Human Rights - Civitas

185. Princeton Committee on Palestine

186. Project48

187. Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice

188. Racial Literacy Groups

189. Réseau International des Droits Humains (RIDH)

190. Riposte International

191. Rumbo a Gaza

192. Salaam Ragazzi dell'Olivo, Comitato di Trieste

193. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network

194. Sareyyet Ramallah

195. Sexual Rights Intiative

196. Sheffield Labour Friends of Palestine

197. Sinistra Italiana

198. Socialist Party (India)


200. South African BDS Coalition

201. South African Jews for a Free Palestine (SAJFP)

202. SumOfUs

203. Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM)

204. Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ)

205. Syrian Justice and Accountability Center (SJAC)

206. The Community Action Center at Al-Quds University

207. The Cultural Forum Center

208. The Culture and Free Thought Association

209. The National Society for Democracy and Law

210. The Palestine Committee of Norway

211. The Palestine Project

212. The Palestinian Developmental Women Studies Association (PDWSA)

213. The Palestinian Human Rights Organization (PHRO)

214. The Rights Forum

215. The Society of Women Graduates

216. Toronto Palestine Film Festival

217. Trade Union Friends of Palestine

218. Transnational Institute

219. Trócaire

220. Tunisian Association of Defending Individual Liberties (ADLI)

221. Tunisian Association of the Democratic Women (ATFD)

222. Tunisian Youth Movement in Germany

223. UK-Palestine Mental Health Network

224. Union Aid Abroad APHEDA

225. Union Juive Française pour la Paix (UJFP)

226. Union Syndicale Solidaires

227. United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine - Israel

228. Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights

229. USA Palestine Mental Health Network

230. Visualizing Palestine

231. Viva Salud

232. We Network

233. WESPAC Foundation, Inc.

234. Women Against Violence

235. Women in Black Vienna

236. Women Now For Development

237. Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC)

238. Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

239. Women's Studies Centre

240. Youth Development Association (YDA)

241. Youth for Tawergha

242. Zochrot

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