Why Israel Calls Human Rights ‘Terrorism’

TALMON, WEST BANK – MARCH 23, 1989: A Jewish settler armed with an Uzi machine gun watches as settlers move caravans and equipment March 23, 1989 to establish the new settlement of Talmon north-west of the nearby Palestinian town of Ramallah in the West Bank. As of December 2003, the left-wing Israeli Peace Now movement said that Talmon had over 1,600 residents. (Photo by Maggie Ayalon / GPO via Getty Images)
In a widely condemned move, the Israeli government has banned the group I founded. This is how it enforces impunity for its illegal policies of occupation.

By Raja Shehadeh | The New York Review | Oct 27, 2021

Throughout the more than four decades since Al-Haq’s founding, the organization has continued to serve the objectives for which it was established: documenting and resisting through the law Israeli human rights violations, including the mistreatment of prisoners, the economic exploitation of the Occupied Territories’ natural resources, and the illegal settlement building.

In 1978 I returned to Ramallah from my legal studies in London brimming with ideas about the importance of the rule of law and the possibilities for resisting the Israeli occupation using international law. The following year, I and two colleagues, a Yale graduate named Charles Shammas and the American lawyer Jonathan Kuttab, established an organization we called Al-Haq (Arabic for The Right) as an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in Geneva. It was one of the first human rights groups in the Arab world and the first and only one of its kind in the Israeli-occupied territories.

Al-Haq’s first major activity was to document the extensive changes in local laws in the occupied West Bank mandated by Israeli military orders. These, in violation of international law, were designed to enable Israel to carry out illegal acquisitions of land for the building of illegal Israeli settlements. In a study Jonathan and I authored, titled The West Bank and the Rule of Law, published in 1980 jointly by Al-Haq and the ICJ, we pointed out that these orders were withheld from public view. That Israel was thus using secret legislation to break international law was a national embarrassment, though it was denied by the government and initially challenged by a number of Israeli journalists. After investigating the matter, these journalists learned that we had not exaggerated and that these orders indeed had not been published.

Read the full article here →

Action Item: Petition Israel is trying to isolate Palestinian civil society from the global community

Screen Shot 2021-10-29 at 12.37.24 PM

Petition to stand in solidarity with the six Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations designated by the Israeli Defense Ministry as “terrorist organizations.”

By Defense for Children International – Palestine |  Oct 29, 2021

We call upon the international community to strongly and swiftly condemn the Israeli government’s actions and urge Israeli authorities to reverse this decision immediately and cease attempts to criminalize lawful human rights and civil society work.
— DCI Palestine Petition

On October 19, the Israeli Ministry of Defense declared six prominent Palestinian civil society and human rights organizations to be “terrorist organizations.” The six organizations are Al-Haq, Addameer, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International – Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and the Union of Palestinian Women Committees.

These organizations advocate for Palestinian human rights at the local and international levels, provide services and support to women, children, farmers, and prisoners, and collectively support thousands of Palestinians across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

Continue reading “Action Item: Petition Israel is trying to isolate Palestinian civil society from the global community”

The long and winding road for Palestinian educational equity in Israeli schools

Road signs directing to Nazareth and Nof Hagalil (credit: Wikimedia)
Palestinian students are forced to leave the mixed Israeli city of Nof Hagalil to attend school in nearby Nazareth because local schools refuse to accommodate Arab students.

By Dr. Reem Khamis-Dakwar | Mondoweiss | October 27, 2021

For over 20 years now, Arab residents of Nof Hagalil have demanded the establishment of a local Arab school.

Nazareth Illit (literally translating to “upper Nazareth”) is the former name of a city built upon the hills overlooking my hometown. Like the very establishment of the Israeli state nine years prior, Nazareth Illit was founded in 1956 upon land confiscated from Palestinians in an effort to “Judaize the Galilee.” In 2019, the city was renamed Nof Hagalil in order to further disconnect it from Nazareth, the largest Arab city in the ‘48 territories. The intention of this performative gesture was clear; Nof Hagalil, formerly Nazareth Illit, is a Jewish city regardless of how many Arab citizens may now live there. After all, the city became one of few promising sites for Arab couples to relocate given the structural racism affecting the growth of Arab towns which Human Rights Watch has reported “stifles the community’s growth and undermines its well-being while promoting the development of a Jewish majority city next to it.

Continue reading “The long and winding road for Palestinian educational equity in Israeli schools”

Biden administration issues sharpest rebuke yet to Israel over settlements

State Department spokesman Ned Price speaks at the State Department in Washington, DC, U.S. August 18, 2021. (credit: Andrew Harnik / Pool via REUTERS)
U.S. officials have emphasized that they oppose further expansion of Jewish settlements on occupied land the Palestinians want for a future state.

By Simon Lewis and Humeyra Pamuk | Reuters | Oct 26, 2021

“We strongly oppose the expansion of settlements, which is completely inconsistent with efforts to lower tensions and to ensure calm, and it damages the prospects for a two-state solution,”
— Ned Price, U.S. State Department spokesperson 

WASHINGTON, Oct 26 (Reuters) – The United States on Tuesday said it strongly opposed Israel’s plans for Jewish settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank as damaging for peace prospects between Israelis and Palestinians, in the Biden administration’s harshest public criticism of Israeli settlement policy to date.

“We are deeply concerned about the Israeli government’s plan to advance thousands of settlement units tomorrow, Wednesday, many of them deep in the West Bank,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price told a briefing.

Continue reading “Biden administration issues sharpest rebuke yet to Israel over settlements”

FOSNA Statement on Israel’s Labeling of Top Palestinian Human Rights Agencies as “Terrorist Organizations”

Screen Shot 2021-10-24 at 7.05.57 AM

FOSNA Executive Director and Al-Haq Cofounder responds to Israel’s accusations.

By Jonathan Kuttab | Friends of Sabeel-North America | Oct 23, 2021

This is a far cry from the polemical, false accusations thrown at us occasionally by Israeli propagandists like the NGO Monitor. It carries practical consequences, such as the seizure of assets, arrest of personnel, and the criminalization of anyone who donates to or cooperates with us in any way.

About 40 years ago, Raja Shehadeh, Charles Shammas, and I created Al-Haq, the first Palestinian human rights organization. After our first publication, “The West Bank and the Rule of Law,” an Israeli ambassador contemptuously dismissed us as “a mouthpiece for the PLO” and for “making a mountain out of a molehill.” We argued back through the International Commission of Jurists, which was our sponsor, that we are totally independent and meticulous about our facts and documentation. We challenged him to prove his claims or to show that ANY of our publications contained any materially incorrect facts. He never replied.

In fact, we were viewed with some suspicion within the Palestinian community because we were strictly independent and spoke the language of human rights and international law, rather than political polemics. This was new for most Palestinians. We persisted, however, and other organizations followed in our footsteps. We managed to have a positive impact on Palestinian society as a serious human rights organization. Al-Haq is now one of several world-renowned and respected human rights organizations. I am proud to say that over the years Al-Haq has meticulously maintained its high standards and, after the Oslo process, was courageous enough to apply the same standards of objectivity, independence, and defense of human rights not just to the Israeli occupation, but also to the behaviour of the Palestinian Authority, and also of Hamas.

Continue reading “FOSNA Statement on Israel’s Labeling of Top Palestinian Human Rights Agencies as “Terrorist Organizations””

Israel moves to ban six Palestinian rights groups it accuses of terrorism, prompting international outrage

Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz signed off on the terrorism designations. (credit: Ariel Schalit / AP)
Human rights work and dissent in Israel facing continued intimidation.

By Amy Cheng | The Washington Post | Oct 22, 2021

The terrorism designation effectively bans the groups by allowing authorities to freeze their funds, raid their offices and prohibit fundraising and public expressions of support for the organizations, according to international monitors.

Israel designated six leading Palestinian rights organizations as terrorist groups on Friday, in the latest blow to activists who say space for dissent in the occupied territories has steadily shrunk amid intimidation by Israeli and Palestinian authorities alike.

The announcement was swiftly condemned by watchdogs in Israel and internationally, who say the designations are unsubstantiated and are attempts to muzzle prominent critics of the Israeli government.

The terrorism designation effectively bans the groups by allowing authorities to freeze their funds, raid their offices and prohibit fundraising and public expressions of support for the organizations, according to international monitors.

Continue reading “Israel moves to ban six Palestinian rights groups it accuses of terrorism, prompting international outrage”

Israel labels leading Palestinian human rights groups ‘terrorist institutions

Benny Gantz (Twitter)
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced a list of six Palestinian human rights organizations which he claimed have links to militant “terror” groups. On the list were prominent institutions like Addameer, Al-Haq, and Defense for Children International – Palestine.

By Yumna Patel | Mondoweiss | Oct 22, 2021

“When years of delegitimization and disinformation campaigns against us have failed to silence our work, Israeli authorities choose to now escalate repressive tactics by labeling civil society organizations as terrorists. The international community must use all available means to hold Israeli authorities accountable for targeted attacks and repression of Palestinian civil society organizations,”
— Khaled Quzmar, General Director of Defense for Children International – Palestine

In its latest attack on Palestinian civil society organizations, Israel labeled a number of Palestinian human rights groups, including Al-Haq and Defense for Children International – Palestine, as “terrorist institutions.”

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced on Friday that the list included six organizations, which he claimed has links to militant “terror” groups.

On the list were prominent institutions like Addameer, Al-Haq, Defense for Children International – Palestine, the Bisan Centre for Research and Development, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees.

Continue reading “Israel labels leading Palestinian human rights groups ‘terrorist institutions”

Philanthropist Michael Leven donated to Canary Mission Blacklist

Michael Leven at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas in 2012. (credit: Isaac Brekken / AP Photo)
The revelation makes him the third major American Jewish funder associated with the project.

By Abby Seitz and Alex Kane | Jewish Currents | October 14, 2021

Launched in 2015, Canary Mission has compiled thousands of profiles of Palestinian rights supporters, most of them students and professors who have participated in Palestinian solidarity activism on American campuses.

IN 2018, philanthropist Michael Leven, a hospitality executive who has served on the boards of major Jewish organizations, made his customary series of donations to American Jewish organizations: $125,000 to Birthright Israel, $75,000 to Hillel chapters in Georgia and Pennsylvania, $70,000 to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and tens of thousands more to other groups. But alongside those gifts to some of the most respected organizations in the American Jewish community, Jewish Currents found in a review of Leven’s foundation’s tax records, was a donation of a different nature: a $50,000 grant to Canary Mission, the controversial website that targets supporters of Palestinian rights, and which many Palestinian rights advocates describe as a shadowy blacklist that chills free speech and encourages social media harassment. Leven confirmed in an interview with Jewish Currents that he sent money to Canary Mission, saying he hoped the grant would help “identify significant antisemites” and “bring the knowledge of their antisemitism to the surface.”

Continue reading “Philanthropist Michael Leven donated to Canary Mission Blacklist”

DOING JUSTICE: Israel/Palestine

Screen Shot 2021-10-16 at 12.05.30 PM

Please join our brothers and sisters at The Bishop’s Committee for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land, Diocese of Olympia for an upcoming seminar.  Grounded in the belief that peace in Israel/Palestine cannot exist without justice for all – Israelis and Palestinians: Jews, Muslims, and Christians – this seminar will examine why and how we, as American citizens, must seek effective ways to end U.S. complicity in the dispossession and human rights violations of a people living under Israeli military and civil control.
Date: Saturday, November 13, 2021
Time: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm PST
Location: Both in person and on-line options:

St. Mark’s Cathedral – Bloedel Hall
1245 10th Ave E. Seattle, WA 98102

Information: Event information here →
Tickets: In-person: $20.00 (includes lunch)
Students:  $10.00
On-line: $10.00
Event Registration
Event Details

We will look at present living conditions for Palestinians in the occupied territories, as well as the legalization of an apartheid system of discriminatory laws that deny basic political rights, including peaceful protest. The current “facts on the ground,” costs of maintaining the status quo, its harm to immediate and long-term US, Palestinian and Israeli interests, and how each of us can make a difference will be addressed by:

• Brian Baird, Ph.D., former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, will explore the role of Congress, the influence of special interests, faith-based organizations and the media, and examine the moral imperative for Palestinian advocacy.
Mark Braverman, Ph.D., Jewish American psychologist and author, co-founder of Friends of Tent of Nations North America and Executive Director of Kairos USA, will focus on antisemitism and the role of theology in the current discourse.
• Cindy Corrie, President of the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, will offer practical information on how to advocate both locally and nationally and how to overcome common myths and misperceptions that stand in the way.
• John McKay, J.D., former US attorney for Western WA, coordinator for a State Department rule of law project in the West Bank and professor of constitutional and national security law, will examine Palestinian life under occupation through the lens of Israeli, U.S. and international law.
Alice Rothchild, MD, author, filmmaker and retired professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Harvard Medical School, will discuss the current critical medical crisis and obstacles to access of radiation treatment, cancer drugs  and Covid vaccines in Gaza and the West Bank.
• Lena Khalaf Tuffaha, Palestinian American whose life and work crosses cultural, geographic and political borders, essayist, and author of Water and Salt, winner of the 2018 Washington State Book Award for Poetry, will share snapshots of the daily lives of Palestinian families.

NOTE:  Attendees will be required to follow current King County and Diocese of Olympia guidelines for indoor gatherings; at this time those guidelines require attendees to provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test and to wear a mask.

More information here →

Award-winning Palestinian films coming to Netflix: five titles not to miss

Oscar-nominated short ‘Ave Maria’ by Basil Khalil is among the films released on Netflix this month. (credit: MAD Solutions and Quat Media)
Oscar-nominated short ‘Ave Maria’ and documentaries by filmmaker Mahdi Fleifel are among titles that will begin streaming this week

By Samia Badih | The National | Oct 11, 2021

The collection, curated by Front Row Filmed Entertainment, will have a total of 32 films, including some titles that are already on the streaming platform.

Works by award-winning Palestinian filmmakers including Elia Suleiman, Annemarie Jacir and Basil Khalil are scheduled for release on Netflix this October under a new collection called Palestinian Stories.

Starting Thursday, Khalil’s 2015 Oscar-nominated short Ave Maria, Jacir’s Salt of this Sea and Suleiman’s Divine Intervention will be available on the streaming platform, among other titles.

Five titles by Palestinian documentary filmmaker Mahdi Fleifel will be available: A Man Returned (2016), A Drowning Man (2017), 3 Logical Exits (2020), Xenos (2014) and A World Not Ours (2012). Fleifel, who won the Black Pearl Award for A World Not Ours at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival in 2012, focuses his work on the refugee experience.

Continue reading “Award-winning Palestinian films coming to Netflix: five titles not to miss”