Skip to main content

Israel troops raid Palestinian rights group offices

Activists hang a banner outside the Ramallah offices of Palestinian rights group Al-Haq after Israel troops raided them overnight and sealed the front door
— Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP)

Israeli security forces on Thursday raided the offices of multiple Palestinian human rights groups in the occupied West Bank, which the state has branded "terrorist organisations".

The military said soldiers and police officers "closed seven institutions and confiscated property" in the overnight raids.

At the Ramallah offices of human rights group Al Haq, the front door had been welded shut and a Hebrew statement left saying it would remain closed for "security reasons".

"Any activity in this place jeopardises the security of the area, of the security forces and of public order," said a statement seen by AFP.

A priest said an Anglican church on the building's ground floor was damaged as troops sought to access the Al Haq offices.

"The soldiers came into the premises around 3:00 am and we started hearing shots and banging on the doors," Father Fadi Diab of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church told AFP.

Al Haq is one of six Palestinian groups branded terrorist organisations by Israel in October for their alleged links to leftist militant group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Israel has not publicly shared any evidence of the alleged ties to the PFLP, which has been labelled a terrorist organisation by many Western governments.

Staff from Al Haq removed the metal sheet covering their office door on Thursday and vowed to get back to work despite computers and other equipment being seized.

"We were established here not by Israel, not by their decision and we will continue our work," Al Haq director Shawan Jabarin told a press conference.

On Thursday morning, tear gas canisters littered the street outside Al Haq's office. The Israeli military said it responded to "rocks and Molotov cocktails" being thrown at soldiers during the overnight raids.

West Bank cities are nominally under the full control of the Palestinian Authority but the Israeli security forces carry out frequent incursions, which are often met with stones or petrol bombs.

- EU backs rights groups -

Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh makes a solidarity visit to Al-Haq's offices after they were raided by the Israeli army

Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh vowed solidarity with Al Haq and the other non-governmental organisations raided overnight.

"This is not only an NGO, but this is also a State of Palestine institution –- therefore as long as they work within the law, we will stand solid with them," Shtayyeh told AFP, as he visited the Al Haq offices.

Last month, nine European countries said they would continue to cooperate with the six groups.

"Past allegations of misuse of EU funds in relation to certain Palestinian civil society organisations have not been substantiated," EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell's spokeswoman Nabila Massrali said Thursday, when asked about the Ramallah raids.

"The EU will continue to stand by international law and support civil society organisations," she added.

The raids come after Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz announced on Wednesday that the terror designation of three of the groups had passed into law.

The other three, which had challenged their terror designations, had their appeals rejected, a statement from Gantz's office said.

Israeli forces additionally raided the offices of a seventh organisation -- the Union of Health Work Committees -- which was banned by Israel from working in the West Bank in 2020.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Free

The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.

Free

What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing
Expert

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to pro.support@al-monitor.com and we'll onboard your team.

What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial