On August 18, Israel conducted armed raids in the occupied West Bank, ransacking and shuttering the offices of seven leading Palestinian human rights organizations. Three days later, the directors of two of those groups were summoned for interrogation by the Israeli Occupying Forces.
The raids began more than a week after the Israel Defense Forces had killed dozens of Palestinians, including 17 childrenduring airstrikes on Gaza.
Most of the Palestinian human rights groups that were ransacked on August 18 have been in Israel’s crosshairs since last October, when Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz baselessly declared that Israel had designated six of those groups under its 2016 Counter Terrorism Law as “terrorist organizations” — with links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a leftist Palestinian political party with a military wing. On November 3, 2021, the six groups were declared “unlawful associations” by the Israeli military commander in the occupied West Bank. But in the 10 months since the “terrorist” designations, the Israeli government has failed to provide competent evidence linking the six groups to the PFLP. A classified CIA report says it could not find any evidence to support the designs.
Israel’s Raids Pose “Existential Threat” to Palestinian Civil Society
The day after the Israeli raids, the six designated organizations issued a joint statement saying, “Israel’s unlawful and aggressive incursion poses an existential threat to Palestinian civil society. The attack seeks to dismantle crucial mechanisms that work to uphold human rights and end Israel’s settler colonial and apartheid regime, which systematically denies the Palestinian people their right to self-determination and the right of refugees to return.” The groups decried the “failure of the international community to take meaningful concrete actions to hold Israel accountable for designing the organizations as grave violations of international law.”