Our Letter to the Prime Minister in Support of the Seven Palestinian NGOs Proscribed by Israel

We have written to the UK Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary, and the British Ambassador to Israel, expressing our grave concern over Israel’s treatment of seven Palestinian NGOs, including our partner organisation Al Haq. Israeli Forces have raided the offices of these organisations, and their staff have suffered threats from the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF). To read our letter as a PDF, click here. Alternatively, read our letter below:

24 August 2022

Dear Prime Minister,

Treatment of Palestinian civil society and human rights organizations

We write in connection with the Israeli government’s attacks on seven including our partner organisation Al Haq. The other organisations include Addameer, Bisan Centre for Research and Development, Defence for Children International-Palestine, Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, Union of Agricultural Work Committee and Union of Health Workers Committees.

On 18 August 2022, forces raided the offices of the above organisations; confiscated equipment and case files; and welded some of the doors closed. Israeli forces efforts to destroy the offices of these organisations follows from their entirely baseless and discredited decision to outlaw the activities of these seven organisations and issue closure orders against them.

On 22 August 2022, Al Haq’s General Director, Shawan Jabarin, the 2022 recipient of the Bruno Kreisky international Prize for Human Rights, received threatening calls from a person claiming to be a captain at the Israeli Security Service (Shabak) requesting Mr. Jabarin for interrogation, and making threats of imprisonment and other measures if Al Haq continues with its human rights work. While the Defence for Children International-Palestine’s General Director, Khaled Quzmar, was detained by Shabak on 21 August 2022 and taken to the Ofer military base near Ramallah for interrogation. He was not allowed any legal counsel and was released a few hours later.

We are all deeply concerned for Mr. Jabarin’s and Mr. Quzmar’s safety and that of his colleagues at Al-Haq, as well as the other colleagues working in the seven civil society organisations erroneous ly ‘designated,’ by the Israeli government. They should be able to work freely from intimidation, violence and threats of arrest. 

These actions are an assault on the basic human rights of Palestinians to assemble and organize freely, and an example of the Israeli government’s weaponization of “counter-terrorism laws” in its relentless attacks to repress the work of human rights defenders.

This follows the Israeli government’s move last year to outlaw the groups, designating them as “terrorist” organizations under Israeli law, and as “unlawful associations” under military law, which it applies in the occupied West Bank.

Despite repeated demands from governments and human rights organizations worldwide, Israel has offered no credible evidence to support its allegations against these groups, and as a result, nine European countries rejected Israel’s claims and continued support to the organizations. More recently, in August 2022, it was reported that a classified CIA report shows that the Agency was unable to find any evidence to support Israel’s designation of the seven organisations.

Israel’s labelling of these Palestinian organizations as “terrorist” and the campaign to use evidence that has been roundly discredited could also undermine legitimate and lawful global efforts to respond to terrorism. In their April 2022 letter, UN Experts explained how Israel’s actions abuse such efforts, stating:

“The United Nations has been very clear that the drafting and application of anti-terrorism laws have to be rigorously consistent with international law and human rights protections, including the principles of legal certainty, necessity, proportionality, the rule of law and non-discrimination. We are deeply disturbed by Israel’s apparent misuse of anti-terrorism legislation to attack some of the leading civil society organisations in Palestine. Such misuse must be rejected and countered.”

The British Government’s failure to censure Israel’s human rights violations while continuing to provide it with extensive military and political support is understood as British acquiescence to these actions. The Israeli government should not be able to feel empowered to repress Palestinian civil society with impunity.

By its silence, and inaction to condemn Israel’s actions against the Palestinian organizations, while continuing to provide unconditional U.K. military and political support to Israel, the British Government is effectively acquiescing to repressive attacks on Palestinian civil society. This could have devastating consequences for the marginalized communities these organizations serve, including women, children, farmers, and poor families.

The British Government must take immediate steps to support the Palestinian non-governmental organisations (NGO) by meeting with representatives of the groups, openly rejecting the Israeli designations and demanding that Israel reverse them.

On 31 May 2022, we hosted Mr. Jabarin as one of the speakers in our conference ‘Responding to Apartheid, the UK Government’s Obligations Under International Law.’ He shared a platform with speakers from Amnesty International, B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch and DAWN. In his speech Mr. Jabarin, invited the UK Government to establish a fact-finding mission to visit Palestine to witness the realities for themselves. He also stated, whilst underscoring his support for victims of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, that if the UK government could give ‘just ten percent’ of support for Palestinian victims of violations that is provided for Ukrainian victims ‘that that would be enough.’

ICJP encourages the UK government to support the International Criminal Court (ICC) in line with their obligations under the Statute of the ICC and to take active steps to end the regime of apartheid, which Palestinians are living under in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

We urge the British Government to take immediate action. It should follow the lead of its European counterparts in rejecting Israel’s unsubstantiated designation of these groups as “terrorist” and “unlawful associations.” Israel needs to reverse its determinations and cease all punitive actions against these groups, and Prime Minister Johnson should request the British Ambassador in Jerusalem, Neil Wigan OBE, to meet publicly with representatives of the seven NGOs not only to show his support for their courageous and essential work, but to reject the Israeli designations and demand their reversal with immediate effect

We should be grateful if you could acknowledge safe receipt of our letter and look forward to hearing from you in respect of the matters raised above.

Yours faithfully,

International Centre of Justice for Palestinians

cc. Liz Truss, Secretary of State for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office; Neil Wigan OBE, British Ambassador in Jerusalem



Claddagh NicLochlainn


[email protected] & [email protected]

Tel: +44 (0) 20 3488 2737