This is Not a Drill: Israel Brings the Hammer Down on the Palestinian NGO Sector, ft. Omar Shakir


In this episode of FMEP’s Occupied Thoughts podcast, FMEP’s Lara Friedman speaks with Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine Director at Human Rights Watch, about Israel’s further targeting of Palestinian human rights/civil society, with the “ratification” 8/17/22 of Israeli decisions to designate 6 Palestinian NGOs as terror organizations, and Israel’s move 8/18/22 to raid and shut down the groups.

Omar Shakir’s bio & Twitter: @OmarSShakir

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Recorded August 18, 2022

Watch this conversation on YouTube


FMEP’s Occupied Thoughts podcast 10/26/21 ft. Omar Shakir – Not Without Precedent: Unraveling the History of Israel’s Escalating War on Palestinian Solidarity Work

FMEP resource page: On Israel’s Declaration of Palestinian Human Rights Groups as “Terrorist Organizations”

Twitter thread from the EU 8/18/22: “1/2 The EU, Member States and likeminded just met with Palestinian CSOs whose offices in Area A inside Ramallah Israeli forces closed, sealed and confiscated property from this morning. 2/2 Past allegations of misuse of EU funds in relation to certain Palestinian CSOs have not been substantiated. The EU will continue to stand by international law and support CSOs that have a role to play in promoting international law, human rights, and democratic values.

Statement from al Haq 8/18/22: Alert: Israeli Occupying Forces Raid, Damage and Close Offices of Al-Haq and other Designated Organisations, International Community Must Intervene

Twitter thread from B’Tselem 8/18/22: “B’Tselem stands in solidarity with the Palestinian civil society organizations raided this morning by the Israeli army. The false accusations against them have been rejected by the European Union, the United States and other states. We will continue to work with our colleagues in the Palestinian NGOs to dismantle the apartheid regime. This regime considers violent repression a legitimate tool to control Palestinians, yet defines non-violent civil activity as terrorism.

Twitter thread from Addameer 8/18/22: “BREAKING: this morning Israeli occupation forces raided the offices of Addameer, as well as @alhaq_org @BisanResearch @UAWC1986 & @of_committees. Our doors were broken down, material confiscated, and a military order left behind. These military orders were left taped to our doors after the military raid on our offices. They declare Addameer forcibly closed in the name of ‘security in the region, & to combat the infrastructure of terrorism.’ This is an astonishing attack on our needed human rights work. It is confirmed that the offices of @DCIPalestine were also raided & closed by military order. All 6 of the Palestinian civic & human rights orgs that have been targeted by Israeli occupation since last year were raided, served military orders & doors welded shut #StandWithThe6”

Twitter thread from Adalah 8/18/22: “Adalah’s response to the Israeli military’s rejection of the objection of Palestinian orgs. against their declaration as “unlawful associations” & to the raids and closure of the offices of the 6 HRs and CSO orgs. designated as “terrorist organizations” #StandWithTheSix. Israel continues to persecute Pal HRs and CSO orgs. with the clear aim of silencing any criticism against it. The effort is led by a Defense Minister, Benny Gantz, suspected of committing war crimes, in an attempt to terrorize those who will testify against him and his actions. The raid was carried out a few hours after the Military rejected the orgs’ objection against their declaration as “unlawful associations”, while ignoring the fact that they weren’t given any opportunity to defend themselves against the secret evidence that Israel allegedly holds. This attack on Palestinian civil society is an attack on the entire Palestinian people and their right to self-determination. Standing aside or staying silent constitutes active cooperation with the persecution and oppression of human rights defenders. — Adalah Attorneys Dr. Hassan Jabareen, Adi Mansour and Rabea Agbariah represent the Palestinian 6, together with private attorneys Michael Sfard and Jawad Boulos.”

Twitter thread from FMEP’s Lara Friedman 8/18/22: “A thread on the Biden Admin & attacks on Palestinian NGOs: The Biden Admin owns a big part of Israel’s attack on Palestinian NGOs. The Biden Admin has had Israel’s “evidence” for almost a year. It clearly knows this “evidence” is BS — otherwise there is zero doubt they  would have validated Israel’s designations/designated the groups themself. But knowing the evidence was BS, they appear to have taken the politically & morally cowardly approach of staying silent — a approach that amounts to foreign policy gross negligence/complicity. Make no mistake: This is a Chekov’s gun situation. Israel put the gun on the table last October. The Biden Admin saw that gun and decided to do nothing to pressure Israel to remove it. Now, the Biden Admin cannot claim surprise when Israel aims/fires that gun at Palestinian human rights defenders. Or later, when Israeli aims/fires more widely at the Palestinian rights sector. Or later, when other illiberal govts clamp shut down NGO critics. The only question is: will the Biden Admin, which claims to care about human rights, finally, belatedly, weigh in now to convince Israel to put down the gun?  They can if they want — and it could make a difference…   …but as always, the cost of weighing in now will be far higher than it would have been before Israel fired the gun, and before  Israel & the US entered elex seasons (which Israeli officials probably had in mind when they chose their moment). But the cost of NOT weighing will be far higher — for human rights, for rule of law, and for the viability of civil society worldwide.”

Selected Media

Washington Post 8/18/22: Israel shutters Palestinian rights groups, drawing diplomatic backlash

New York Times 8/18/22: Palestinian Rights Groups Raided by Israeli Soldiers – The offices of seven groups were shuttered, months after Israel designated six of them as terrorist organizations. The groups said the moves were meant to silence criticism.

The Guardian 8/18/22: Israeli forces raid offices of six Palestinian human rights groups

Times of Israel 8/18/22: Israel shuts offices of Palestinian rights organizations it labeled terror groups – IDF troops confiscate property, weld doors of offices in Ramallah shut, after defense minister ratifies 2021 decision to outlaw groups over alleged ties to PFLP