Opinion piece in New York Times

Israel Moves to Silence the Stalwarts of Palestinian Civil Society

On Oct. 19, the Israeli Ministry of Defense singled out six of the most prominent Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations, using secret, and thus far insufficient, evidence to accuse them of being “terrorist” organizations with links to a militant group. Just days later, Israel approved the construction of more than 3,000 new settlement units in the occupied West Bank and announced plans to double the Jewish-Israeli population in the Jordan Valley by 2026.

The effective criminalization of Palestinian institutions and the expansion of the settlements are two sides of the same coin. The goal is clear: to silence the independent monitoring of Israel’s human rights violations that stand between total annexation of the occupied West Bank and international accountability. Since the 1990s, Palestinian civil society has expanded to fill the role of exposing and resisting the crimes of the Israeli occupation and the corruption of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. It has become the last line of defense. It will be harder to hold Israel to account if some of the most important Palestinian rights organizers are silenced, weakened or eliminated.

The targeted groups — Al-Haq, Defense for Children International Palestine (D.C.I.P.), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Addameer, the Bisan Center for Research and Development and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees — are stalwarts of Palestinian civil society. READ THE FULL TEXT FROM HERE.