Israel: Assault on Human Rights Organisations and Defenders
A number of prominent human rights organisations in Israel, including B'Tselem, The Public Committee against Torture in Israel and The Association for Civil Rights in Israel have published an open letter to the President of Israel, Shimon Peres, Member of the Knesset, Reuven Rivlin, and Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyhau, urging them to condemn the assault and delegitimization of human rights organizations in Israel by by extremist organizations (NGO Monitor, Im Tirtzu and others). Please see the letter attached.
They add, "Meanwhile, the Israeli security authorities have recently acted to curb the organizations on the ground. For example, the ISA [The Israel Securities Authority] summoned demonstrators and human rights defenders for investigation and in some cases warned activists they must "refrain from political activity." Furthermore, military authorities announced that they were stopping responding to requests by the organizations on behalf of the residents of Gaza, including in the cases of patients who need urgent and life-saving medical care. Only after the organizations protested and international parties intervened did the Army retract that statement. The Army has also recently placed severe restrictions on organizations working in the territories to provide medical care, accompany residents to their agricultural work and children to school, and help residents file complaints of violence by security forces are settlers. The entrance of Israeli organizations into Gaza was completely forbidden earlier this year, after the organizations criticized the policy of siege on the Gaza Strip. And if that were not enough, human rights organizations are often described by security forces as extreme, lunatic and provocative elements and even as lawbreakers, in order to justify banishing them from the area while undermining their work."
January 31, 2010
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