Attacking Rights’ Groups

Israel’s actions against non-violent elements of Palestinian soci­ety in a bid to suppress any dissent against its brutal occupation have now translated into closing down the offices of rights groups as well. Last week, five leading rights organisations saw the doors to their offices shuttered by Israeli authorities in Ramallah, even though the purported accusations of ties to violent groups have never been ex­plained by the occupying state.

The Israeli state must first have to prove that the civil society groups in question have links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Pal­estine—which Israel has labelled as an armed group. Imposing this blanket ban on the activity of groups that have been at the forefront of documenting the security forces’ rights abuses against unarmed and innocent Palestinian civilians is highly suspicious. However, apart from a United Nations condemnation, Tel Aviv has not received too much flak on this from the international community.

The US has issued its standard response of ascertaining the facts, which has historically not translated into action against the Israeli state for its transgressions against civilians and all those that highlight these abuses. More must be done by the international community.

There is a deliberate attempt by the Israeli government to obfuscate facts and paint political opponents and anyone criticising its oppres­sive policies as terror sympathisers. This strategy to change the narra­tive allows for an occupying state to commit atrocities against civilians with even less scrutiny than before—and this tactic has now been per­fected by the Israeli state.

Groups such as al-Haq—one of those targeted in this latest crack­down—are internationally recognised as peaceful civil society organ­isations. For once, as many as nine European countries have also voiced this opinion. But more must be done. If the international community is aware of the legitimacy of these groups—which it is—they must con­demn Israel’s action and offer more support to these rights groups. Anywhere else in the world, a state acting unjustly against civil society organisations would be deemed tyrannical and undemocratic. We can only hope that Israel is treated the same way, and Pakistan must stand with these organisations for the sake of the Palestinian movement

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt