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Israel outlaws human rights organizations


Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Oct. 19 declared six Palestinian human rights groups to be "terrorist organizations," effectively outlawing their activities. The declaration was based on a military finding that they are "secretly linked" to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)–a leftist resistance group that Israel has long designated a "terrorist organization." The named groups are Addameeral-Haq, the Bisan Center, Defense for Children Palestine (DCIP), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and the Union of Palestinian Women's Committees (UPWC). 

International rights groups Humans Rights Watch and Amnesty International released a joint statement calling the announcement a "brazen attack on human rights." The Israeli rights group B'Tselem called the declaration "an act characteristic of totalitarian regimes, with the clear purpose of shutting down these organizations."

On July 29, DCIP, which documents Israeli rights violations against Palestinian children, was targeted in a military raid, in which Israeli soldiers broke into their offices in the West Bank town of al-Bireh, confiscating computers and files. At the time, DCIP's director, Khaled Quzmar, called the raid part of "an ongoing campaign to silence and eliminate Palestinian civil society and human rights organizations." (Palestine Chronicle)