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Israel refuses to provide evidence for banning Palestinian rights groups

Salah Hamouri, Franco-Palestinian lawyer and field researcher for ADDAMEER (Conscience) Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, gives an interview with AFP at the NGO's offices in the West Bank city of Ramallah on October 1, 2020 [ABBAS MOMANI/AFP via Getty Images]
Palestinian-French human rights defender Salah Hamouri  in the West Bank city of Ramallah on October 1, 2020 [ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images]

The Israeli occupation authorities have failed to provide evidence for outlawing six Palestinian human rights and civil society groups, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah) said on Tuesday.

"The organisations have not received any of the evidentiary materials that the Israeli authorities purport to justify this draconian and sweeping measure," Adalah said in a statement.

Adalah pointed out that it had sent a letter to the Israeli security authorities, demanding that they reveal all of the evidence forming the bases of the designations.

"There is no justice, fairness or due process for the organisations, without access to these materials in their entirety in order to defend themselves," Adalah stressed.

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On 19 October 2021, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz designated six leading Palestinian human rights and civil society groups as "terrorist organisations" under Israel's domestic Counter-Terrorism Law which was ratified in 2016.

The Israeli military commander in the occupied West Bank also outlawed all the six groups, declaring them "unlawful associations."

Adalah's legal team said that "the designations constitute a blatant political decision aimed at destroying Palestinian civil society, based on arbitrary law and emergency measures."

In its statement, Adalah described the six groups as "the most vocal against Israel's occupation and apartheid policies locally and internationally and provide needed services to a wide range of Palestinian communities," hinting that this is the real reason behind banning them.

"These baseless designations aim to delegitimise and discredit the work of these groups, placing the organisations, their staff and their supporters in danger of criminal charges," the statement said.

Adalah reiterated that the six groups did not have any information about the reason for their designation. "To date, they have had no meaningful opportunity to review and challenge the bases of the designations, as no evidence has been provided to them," Adalah said.

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