19 August 2022
Responding to the news that the Israeli military raided the offices of six Palestinian human rights organisations and posted closure orders, executive director of New Israel Fund Australia Liam Getreu released the following statement:
“The Israeli government’s decision to raid and shutter the offices of six Palestinian civil society organisations is a blow to anyone who cares about the future of Palestinian human rights and Israeli democracy.
“Months ago, Israeli authorities declared these organisations – some of the most recognisable names in Palestinian human and civil rights – ‘terrorist’ groups. Since then, the Israeli government has not offered any public evidence or documentation supporting these accusations. Recently Israel’s closest European allies rejected the designation, recommitting to support these organisations. The United States expressed concern about the raid and has restated that it is yet to be provided with sufficient evidence to justify the designation.
“Last night’s raid is a profoundly worrying escalation in an accelerating attack on Palestinian civil society. Shutting down human rights organisations is the kind of thing we expect from authoritarian governments, not self-declared liberal democratic ones.
“We at the New Israel Fund are all-too familiar with the tactic of smearing organisations that stand up for human rights with the label ‘terrorist’. We also know that when Palestinian civil society and human rights organisations are threatened, Israeli anti-occupation activists and human rights defenders are too.
“Now is a time when both Palestinians and Israelis – and human rights defenders around the world – need their civil societies to work overtime. These are the people who protect the rights of dissenters, of truth tellers, and the most vulnerable.
“We stand with all those working to hold their governments to account.”