Israeli Army Raids Palestinian Human Rights Organizations, Declares Them Terrorists

Israeli Army Raids Palestinian Human Rights Organizations, Declares Them Terrorists
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Vivien Fakhoury

Middle East and Human Rights Researcher

Global Human Rights Defence

On October 19, 2021, Israel’s Ministry of Defence declared six Palestinian human rights organizations as terrorists. [1] They hold Israel accountable for the illegal occupation of Plaestinian territory under international law, document human rights violations, promote democracy, and provide aid to Palestinian society. [2] This decision prohibits their work and allows Israeli military to arrest staff, shut down their offices, and confiscate assets. [3] In fact, on August 18, 2022, the Israeli army raided their offices, took case files, computers, and other materials documenting Israel’s torture in prisons, destroying homes, and Israeli settler violence. They then welded the office doors shut to prevent staff’s access for ‘security reasons.’ [4]

The United Nations condemned this misuse of anti-terrorism legislation and declared these moves against international and human rights law. They urged the international community and governments to continue funding these organizations because Israel’s accusations are vague and not backed by credible evidence. [5] Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International - Israel labeled the latter uncredible and unreputable [6] - are appalled and blame the international community for its “decades-long failure … to challenge grave Israeli human rights abuses and impose meaningful consequences.” [7] The international community’s reaction is the ultimate test of their commitment to protect human rights defenders. [8]

The European Union echoed these condemnations. They temporarily halted funding to two of the organizations while they investigated the claims, but decided to resume funding in June, 2022, due to Israel’s lack of evidence. [9] Some European governments also took independent action - Belgian Minister of Development Cooperation declared they found no persuasive evidence and will not take any new actions. [10] Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden concluded the same. [11] As of writing the United States’ President Biden has publicly not responded although a signed document by Congress asked him to follow suit. [12]

“If the international community is serious about its support for Palestinian self-determination and an end to the … Israeli occupation, it must become more vocal and assertive in defending the work of these organisations, and reminding Israel of its international human rights obligations.” [13]


[1] Human Rights Watch. (2021, October 22). Israel/Palestine: Designation of Palestinian Rights Groups as Terrorists.

[2] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). (2022, April 25). Israel/Palestine: UN experts call on governments to resume funding for six Palestinian CSOs designated by Israel as 'terrorist organisations'.

[3] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). (2021, October 25). UN experts condemn Israel's designation of Palestinian human rights defenders as terrorist organisations.

[4] Middle East Monitor. (2022, August 18). Israel forces raid offices of 7 Palestine NGOs, weld their doors shut. ; Shezaf, H., Khoury, J., & The Associated Press. (2022, August 18). Israel Raids Outlawed Palestinian Rights Groups' Offices in West Bank - Israel News. Haaretz.

[5] OHCHR. (2022, April 25) ; United Nations. (2021, December 7). Outraged over Israel's Designation of Six Civil Society Groups as Terrorists, Speakers Tell Palestinian Rights Committee Harassment against Human Rights Defenders Must End. Meetings Coverage and Press Releases.

[6] American Jewish Committee (AJC). (2022, February 1). Amnesty's Outrageous Lie, its Big Problem with Jews, and the Truth About Israel. ; The Jerusalem Post. (2022, March 13). Amnesty International's report on Israel is full of distortions and lies.

[7] Human Rights Watch. (2021, October 22).

[8] Ibid.

[9] Al Jazeera. (2022, June 30). 'Unfounded allegations': EU resumes funding of Palestinian NGOs.

[10] OHCHR. (2022, April 25).

[11] Marsh, S., Williams, D., Macfie, N., & Heinrich, M. (2022, July 12). Nine EU states reject Israeli 'terrorist' designation for Palestinian NGOs. Reuters.

[12] Al Jazeera. (2022, July 18). US lawmakers denounce blacklisting of Palestinian NGOs by Israel. ; United States Congress. (2021, October 28). H.Res.751 - Condemning the repressive designation by the Government of Israel of six prominent Palestinian human rights and civil society groups as terrorist organizations, and for other purposes.

[13] OHCHR. (2022, April 25).

Further Reading:

Amnesty International. (2022, February 1). Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel system of domination and crime against humanity.

Human Rights Watch. (2022, August 22). Joint Statement: Over 150 Organizations Demand International Community Stand Against Raids and Closures of 7 Palestinian Organizations.