Responding to the news that the Israeli military raided the offices of six Palestinian human rights organizations and posted closure orders, CEO of the New Israel Fund Daniel Sokatch released the following statement:
“The Israeli government’s decision to raid and shutter the offices of six Palestinian civil society organizations is a blow to anyone who cares about the future of Palestinian human rights and Israeli Democracy. Months ago, Israeli authorities declared these organizations — some of the most recognizable 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, and recently Israel’s closest European allies rejected the designation, recommitting to support these organizations. The U.S., for its part, requested more information, and reiterated its respect for human rights and civil society.
“Last night’s raid is a profoundly worrying escalation in an accelerating attack on Palestinian civil society. Shutting down human rights organizations 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 organizations that stand up for human rights with the label “terrorist.” We also know that when Palestinian civil society and human rights organizations 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.”