An overnight raid on the offices of a prominent Palestinian human rights organization is the latest attack on civil society in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) by Israeli authorities, said Amnesty International today.
At around 2am this morning, Israeli forces ransacked the offices in Ramallah of the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Addameer), seizing computers, hard drives, files and equipment. The raid is part of a wider crackdown on Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations and their staff.
“The chilling raid by Israeli forces against Addameer demonstrates the Israeli authorities’ clear determination to crush peaceful activism and silence NGOs. This was a sinister and calculated attack designed to curtail Addameer’s vital human rights work,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
“Israeli authorities have been sending a clear message to Palestinian civil society: anyone who dares to speak out about Israeli human rights violations in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories risks coming under attack.”
The chilling raid by Israeli forces against Addameer demonstrates the Israeli authorities’ clear determination to crush peaceful activism and silence NGOsSaleh Higazi, Amnesty International
This is the third time Israeli forces have raided Addameer’s offices; previous raids took place in 2002 and 2012. Over the years Israeli authorities have also arrested and detained many Addameer staff members.
Ayman Nasser, the NGO’s legal unit co-ordinator, has been detained without charge or trial since 17 September 2018. Last week, his administrative detention was renewed for a further four months.
In recent years, Israeli authorities have dramatically intensified their intimidation of civil society organizations in Israel and the OPT. Civil society is facing continued attacks, through restrictive legislation and governmental policies coupled with smear campaigns aimed at delegitimizing human rights work.
“Arbitrary restrictions on movement, attacks on human rights and civil society organizations and human rights defenders can never be justified. They must end now, and those responsible must be held accountable,” said Saleh Higazi.
According to Palestinian media sources, Israeli forces broke into several buildings in the West Bank city of Ramallah during the early morning of 19 September, including the offices of Addameer and the headquarters of the General Union of Service Sector Workers.
In the crackdown on civil society, Israeli authorities have targeted organizations calling for an end to Israel’s occupation and accountability for crimes under international law, including through boycotts as a form of advocacy.