These “terrorist” organizations help tens of thousands of peasants to get ahead vitally in the so-called Area C of the TTOO, under direct Israeli military control and where most of the illegal Israeli settlements are located. These NGOs are a key pillar for the economic and social development of those who live in these territories. Perhaps for this reason, a spokesman for the assailants has stated that the assaults are intended to destroy Palestinian society.
In 2021, faced with a situation of these characteristics led by the Tel Aviv government, 250 local, regional and international human rights organizations issued a forceful statement: “This action by Israel takes place in the context of its continued occupation and in the attacks of an apartheid state against the rights of the Palestinian people, especially their right to struggle for freedom, return, self-determination and the construction of an independent state.”
Of course, it rains it pours because, since 1967, the Zionist state has closed down, through different means, more than 400 pro-human rights organizations, banned Palestinian political parties and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) itself, with which in 1993 it had signed the Oslo Accords. In 2021 numerous actors mobilized and condemned the Israeli action. A significant trade union movement in the UK demanded that their government reject the designation of the affected organizations as terrorists: “This attack is intended to further restrict Palestinian rights and to silence and punish Palestinian human rights defenders, who are already working in an extremely tough situation. These organizations have been able to have their claims heard internationally, including the International Criminal Court and the United Nations, so they are undoubtedly targeted for this. Slandering, attacking and eliminating the most outstanding defenders of accountability and justice is a classic action of repressive regimes.” A similar declaration by the Spanish unions would not be superfluous.
For decades, Israel has blocked the possibility of paving the way for an independent, peaceful Palestinian state that coexists with the Zionist state. It has achieved it in the face of the passivity and moral indifference of the majority of the international community, especially the United States. Now is not the time to delve into the reasons and unreasons for such behavior. This article is intended only to highlight the need for that international community, weak in values, to at least agree on the urgency of demanding that Israel respect the human rights of the population and those who, with infinite audacity and moral greatness, defend them in the TTOO. Hope is not guaranteed, but it is at least encouraging that on July 12 nine European states (Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, France, Holland, Italy, Ireland and Sweden) issued a joint statement stating the following: “We find no substantial evidence to support Israeli claims that six Palestinian civil society organizations are terrorist organizations. We will not change our position in support of these civil organizations. Allegations of terrorism or links with terrorist groups must always be considered with the utmost seriousness. We have not received from Israel any substantial information that would justify us modifying our policy in relation to the aforementioned NGOs, based on the Israeli decision to classify them as terrorist organizations.” No further comments.
Emilio Menendez del Valle
Ambassador of Spain,
former president of the Spanish Committee of UNRWA.