Israel’s designation of Palestinian human rights groups as terrorist organizations doesn’t hide who is really threatening innocent lives.

By Shireen Faisal, The Progressive Magazine

A week after I flew out of Palestine on August 3, Gaza was under attack.

Apartheid in Israel

Just four days later, fourty-four deaths were reported by Palestinian health authorities, fifteen of which were children. More than 300 Palestinians were wounded during three days of the onslaught where, according to a spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces, 1,100 projectiles were fired from the Gaza strip. Homes were demolished, family businesses were destroyed, and sons and daughters perished. Yet, for the two weeks that I was in Palestine working with a human rights organization, according to Israeli law, it was me who was the terrorist.

In October 2021, the government of Israel labelled six Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist operations. This designation enables the Israeli state to limit the function of these organizations by suffocating funding and charging staff with terrorist offenses. I worked with one of these organizations, Al-Haq, established in 1979 to “document violations of individual and collective rights of Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories. . . to end such breaches by way of advocacy before national and international mechanisms.”

I volunteered with Al-Haq during my stay in the West Bank. I got a firsthand glimpse into the realities of Palestinian existence under occupation, the nuances of navigating such an uncertain context, and the frustration of operating under arbitrary legal and political systems.

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