Support Human Rights Work in Palestine
The Israeli Ministry of Defense on October 19 released a military order declaring key Palestinian human rights groups “terrorist organizations” effectively outlawing and criminalizing the named groups: Defense for Children International – Palestine, Al-Haq, Addameer, Bisan, the Union of Agricultural Working Committees, and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.
The targeted organizations are among the most respected Palestinian human rights organizations, organizations that are relied on for accurate information; some of which Global Ministries, the UCC, and Disciples have had long relationships. All of these organizations work closely with the United Nations, international NGO partners, and activist communities and advocates to European and U.S. government officials. They also provide vital information about and services to Palestinians whose human rights have been violated. Concerns about this designation have been raised by groups like Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch and twenty-five Israeli human rights and peace organizations, as well as Palestinian Christian organizations and UCC and Disciples’ partners.
The Israeli government and groups supported by the Israeli government have targeted these organizations for decades because of their human rights activism by making similar accusations to their donors, arresting and detaining staff, and raiding organizations’ offices. Past politicized accusations that these groups are linked to terrorist groups have been thoroughly investigated and rejected by UN, EU, and U.S. officials. This new attack on the work of key Palestinian civil society groups must be viewed in the context of decades of failed attempts to delegitimize and stop the work of these groups. Understanding this context, we ask that you call on Secretary of State Blinken to reject these new accusations.
This is a dangerous escalation of Israel’s ongoing attacks on civil society and human rights defenders. An attack on these organizations is an attack on those most dedicated to realizing a just and lasting peace and if this action is allowed to stand, it will make peace harder to realize.
The Biden Administration has made human rights a centerpiece in is foreign policy agenda. Secretary Blinken must stand up for human rights by both demanding the immediate reversal of this designation and insisting on protection for Palestinian civil society and human rights defenders. Join these churches and faith-based organizations – including Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ) – in calling on Sec. Blinken to publicly oppose this move and intervene with his Israeli counterparts by calling for the immediate reversal of this action.