Take Action! Denounce the Raid on Palestinian Human Rights Organizations
At 3 am on December 11, the Israeli army raided the offices of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committee (UPWC), and the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO). Soldiers destroyed furniture, office appliances, ransacked filing cabinets, and confiscated computers, computer hard drives, and video cameras.
AFSC works with Palestinian non-governmental organizations in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza to end the occupation, achieve equal rights for Palestinians and Israelis, and recognize the right of return of refugees. Israeli army raids against Addameer, PNGO and UPWC are a violation of the right to freedom of association and expression. These actions further threaten prospects for a nonviolent future where all Palestinians and Israelis can live in peace and security. The U.S. should urge the Israeli government to immediately provide reparation for the damage caused by these raids and return the material and equipment taken by the Israeli army.
Tell U.S. officials that you want the U.S. government to issue a strong public statement against this Israeli army raid on human rights defenders and organizations in Ramallah.
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights office has been a leading organization in the effort to raise awareness and advocate for Palestinian prisoners. In 2012, Addameer played a prominent role in publicizing the Palestinian prisoner hunger strike that drew attention to detention conditions in Israeli prisons, including the use of isolation and administrative detention (indefinite detention without charge or trial). One of Addameer’s staff members, Ayman Nasser, has been detained by Israeli authorities since October 15, 2012. According to Addameer, more than 4,520 Palestinians currently are held in Israeli prisons and over 800,000 Palestinians have been arrested since 1967. “The arrest of human rights defenders like Ayman [Nasser] is a way to cripple the work of Palestinian civil society organizations that defend human rights as well as those who have called for Israel to be held responsible for its behavior through the boycott, divest and sanctions movement, especially by calling for the boycott of G4S, the British-Danish security company that provides security systems to the Israeli Prison Service,” said Addameer’s international advocacy director Randa Wahbe in an interview with the Electronic Intifada. (“Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike "until freedom or death", Nour Joudah, December, 11, 2012)
The Palestinian NGO network (PNGO), established in September 1993, is “a coordination body for the NGO sector in Palestine with the purpose of strengthening the Palestinian civil society and contributing to the establishment of the Palestinian state based on the principles of democracy, social justice, rule of law, tolerance, and respect of human rights through networking, building-up the capacity of NGOs, developing information management center and mainstreaming of society concerns into public policies, plans and programs.” (pngo.net) At present, PNGO includes 135 national NGOs in the West Bank and Gaza that work across sectors in different developmental fields.
In an interview by Reuters (“Israel Raids Palestinian NGO offices”, Noah Browning, Tue Dec 11, 2012) Allam Jarrar of the Palestinian NGO network linked the Israeli raids on his organization to the recent initiative at the United Nations to recognize a de facto Palestinian state. "This a message by the Israelis to the Palestinians, saying that when they take decisions or form patriotic organizations to seek their freedom, the occupation will use aggression to try and stop us," he said. In the PNGO office, in addition to destroying furniture and office equipment, Israeli soldiers scattered leaflets supporting the boycott of Israeli goods all over the office.
The Union of Palestinian Women’s Committee (UPWC) was founded in 1980 and strives “to build a civil democratic progressive community free of all forms of discrimination. UPWC struggles to empower Palestinian women and develop their circumstances to achieve real equity between men and women as well as equity among all social classes. Moreover, the Union fights to ensure positive affirmation of women within all the laws active in Palestine.” (http://www.upwc.org.ps/) Offices of UPWC are located in the Qaddura refugee camp in Ramallah. During the Israeli army raid on December 11, files and computer hardware were confiscated.