At 3 a.m. on December 11, Israeli occupation forces raided the offices of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, and the Palestinian NGO Network. Click here to take action to defend human rights defenders!
The offices were ransacked, their doors broken in, their computers and hard drives confiscated and their materials damaged, confiscated and destroyed. These Palestinian human rights defenders are on the front lines in defending the rights of Palestinian prisoners, organizing Palestinian women, and coordinating Palestinian civil society in the face of the Israeli occupation. Click here to write Israeli officials in protest.
Addameer reported that this was the first raid by the IOF since 2002, when the Addameer office was raided during the invasion of Ramallah. “Our imprisoned colleague Ayman Nasser told the Ofer military court, ‘I will pursue the just cause of the prisoners even if the price is my own freedom.’ This is what we confirm following the Israeli raid,” said one message from Addameer (see Electronic Intifada report).
It should be noted that this attack comes on Human Rights Day, the anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The blatant violation of Palestinian human rights is but the latest in a long string of attacks on the Palestinian movement and its popular organizations.
Said Addameer in its statement, “Addameer believes that this brutal assault is part of the constant targeting of the association’s staff and mission to defend Palestinian political prisoners. Since 2002, Addameer has been subjected to raids and attacks and arrest campaigns of staff members in past years. Most recently, Addameer’s researcher, Ayman Nasser, was detained on 15 October 2012 and is charged for supporting Palestinian prisoners and detainees and calling for their freedom…Addameer believes that these ongoing attacks aim to destroy the legitimacy of non-governmental organizations, and by disregarding our status as human rights defenders, raiding and ransacking resources and arresting staff members, they delegitimize human rights work and normalize the attacks on our offices.”
Other attacks on Palestinian human rights defenders was noted, including travel bans imposed on Addameer board member Abdullatif Ghaith and prohibition of Addameer lawyers from visiting prisoners in Israeli jails, as well as Israeli targeting of journalists during the aggression on Gaza. It should also be noted that the Union of Agricultural Work Committees were also recently the target of series of arrests against grassroots organizers of farmers in the West Bank, part of the ongoing campaign of harassment and targeting of Palestinian civil society.
See video of attack on UPWC office: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Ubkq0aiHvLQ
See photos of destruction in Addameer offices: http://samidoun.ca/2012/12/urgent-action-alert-defend-addameer-and-raided-palestinian-grassroots-and-civil-society-institutions/ – see Addameer on Facebook and Twitter.
The US and Canadian governments have been staunch defenders of ongoing Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights. It is urgent that people around the world take action to defend Palestinian human rights defenders and demand an end to the attacks on Palestinian grassroots and civil society organizations!
1. Write immediately to Israeli officials and demand an end to the persecution of Palestinian human rights defenders. Click here to send a letter now.
2. Contact your government officials and demand an end to the persecution of Palestinian human rights defenders. In Canada, call the office of John Baird, Foreign Minister, and demand an end to Canadian support for Israel and justice for Palestinian prisoners, at : 613-990-7720; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. In the US, call the White House at 1-202-456-1111 and call the State Department at 1-202-647-4003. Demand that Canada and the US take a stand and stop supporting the attacks on Palestinians. (See Facebook event for call-in campaign)
3. Join a protest or demonstration outside an Israeli consulate to defend Palestinian grassroots and civil society organizations. Organizing an event, action or forum on Palestinian prisoners on your city or campus? Use this form to contact us and we will post the event widely. If you need suggestions, materials or speakers for your event, please contact us at email@example.com.
4. Join in the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Boycott Israeli products, and academic and cultural institutions until all Palestinian rights (including the right of refugees to return, to be free from occupation and for full equality) are fulfilled – including freeing the thousands of Palestinian prisoners behind bars and implementing Palestinian human rights.