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Palestinian human rights groups refuse to be silenced by Israeli terror designation

PALESTINIAN human rights organisations have called for international solidarity, branding Israel’s designation of six leading organisations as terrorist groups part of a “sinister plot” to silence resistance.

At a joint press conference on Saturday, the groups condemned the move by Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz as “an alarming and unjust escalation of attacks against the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom, justice and the right to self-determination…”

Mr Gantz accused six organisations, including al-Haq, Addameer and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, of links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Marxist organisation that Israel considers a terrorist group.

He said that the human rights organisations and NGOs raised money through “a variety of forgery and deceit” and used it to fund the activities of the PFLP.

But the groups rejected the terror allegations as baseless smears, noting that many of them had played a leading role in the case for charges to be brought against Israel for war crimes against the Palestinian people at the International Criminal Court.

Al-Haq director general Shawan Jabarin said that the allegations were a result of “the Israeli failure to challenge the work of the organisation on the basis of law and evidence, instead using its political power as an occupying colonial regime with the ability to create the law that serves its illegal interests.”

Addameer and Defence for Children International said that the banning of the human right groups was part of “an attempt to eliminate Palestinian civil society,” while the United Nations said that it was “alarmed” at the decision.

“These designations are the latest development in a long, stigmatising campaign against these and other organisations, damaging their ability to deliver on their crucial work,” a UN statement said.

Samidoun, which was designated a terror organisation earlier this year, called for Israel to be confronted with “action and resistance.”

The group said: “This repression must inspire us to build greater mutual defence and solidarity against all attempts to use the terrorist label to criminalise Palestinian resistance, action and organising.”

It added that the term “terrorist” had become meaningless when applied by the Israeli government, recalling that President Isaac Herzog had used it against US ice cream firm Ben and Jerry’s after it said that it would no longer sell its products in illegal settlements.

The international community, including human rights groups, civil society organisations and the UN, were urged to speak out and the groups also called for “solid and concrete measures” to ensure that the terror designation is revoked.

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