In a violent demonstration of who is really in charge of areas under the nominal control of the Palestinian Authority, Israeli occupation forces ransacked the offices of Palestinian human rights organizations in Ramallah early this morning.
In a statement today, Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer said:
At 3 am this morning, 11 December 2012, the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights office was raided by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF). Four laptops, one hard disk and a video camera were taken among other materials. The IOF destroyed the office; desks, ransacked filing cabinets and files and scattered files around the office. At this moment, we are not clear as to what has been confiscated, but in the coming days we will know more about the level of destruction and damage. This is the first raid by the IOF since 2002, when the Addameer office was raided during the invasion of Ramallah.
The offices of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committee and the Palestinian NGO Network were also raided and ransacked last night. Addameer condemns this attack on human rights and civil society organizations, and sees it as an attempt to cripple solidarity with the prisoners movement.
Addameer posted additional photos on its Facebook page.
Sustained Israeli assault on Palestinian human rights defenders
The violent attack on Addameer follows the 25 October dawn kidnapping from his home of one of its researchers, Ayman Nasser, by Israeli occupation forces. Nasser, a father of four, has been in detention, including solitary confinement, since his seizure.
In October, Human Rights Watch criticized the detention of Nasser and Israel’s imposition of a travel ban on Abdullatif Ghaith, the 71-year-old chairman of Addameer’s board.
Amnesty International today condemned the Israeli raids as “part of a wider onslaught against Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations and their staff.”
“The occupation’s goal in raiding the offices of Addameer and other organizations is to delegitimize them and strip them of their legal status in preparation for closing them and attacking their personnel,” Addameer said in Arabic from its Twitter account today.Addameer also asserted that it would not be deterred from its work.
“Our imprisoned colleague Ayman Nasser told the Ofer military court, ‘I will pursue the just cause of the prisoners even if the price is my own freedom.’ This is what we confirm following the Israeli raid,” said one message.Addameer gained international prominence over the last year for its role in advocating for Palestinian political prisoners, especially those on hunger strike.
In October, Addameer received an “Inspiration for Hope” award from the American Friends Service Committee in recognition of its work defending human rights.
The fact that thousands of Palestinian Authority security personnel, armed and trained under the supervision of an American general, do nothing to defend Palestinian civilians and organizations in the heart of Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority, lays bare the imaginary nature of Palestinian self-rule that hides behind the pomp and circumstance of the illusory non-member “state” admitted to the UN General Assembly earlier this month.
Wattan TV report
A report from Wattan TV shows scenes of the raids, and interviews and statements by members of the organizations Israel attacked, in Arabic.