Israel’s All-Out Assault on Rights Defenders: Palestinian Groups Raided, Closed; Researcher for Israeli Group Detained

By Omar Shakir | Israel and Palestine Director, Middle East and North Africa Division | @OmarSShakir | –

( Human Rights Watch ) –

Three years ago, as the Israeli government prepared to deport me from Israel and Palestine over my human rights advocacy, I wrote in The Forward that, should the deportation proceed without sanction from the international community, it could provide a greenlight for authorities to “further restrict or even shut down the work of Israeli and Palestinian rights defenders.”

Israeli authorities deported me in November 2019. They faced no meaningful consequence. And now they are carrying out an unprecedented all-out assault on human rights advocates, which Palestinians are bearing the brunt of.

On August 18, Israeli authorities raided the offices of seven prominent Palestinian civil society organizations, seizing documents, printers, and computers, welding the doors shut, and issuing closure orders against the organizations. This follows the Israeli government’s move last year to outlaw the groups, designating them as “terrorist” organizations under Israeli law, and as “unlawful associations” under military law, which is applicable in the occupied West Bank. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s confirmed many of these designations on August 17, though several groups still have a pending challenge against the terrorism designation….