Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom’s statement that “most human rights organizations whose offices are in Gaza and the West Bank provide refuge to Palestinian terrorists,” is a direct continuation of the campaign that Israel’s government has been waging against human rights organizations operating in the Occupied Territories. Such unfounded statements, particularly when made by a senior Cabinet minister, are liable to be understood to give a green light to harm the organizations’ members.
In recent weeks, Israel has restricted the activity of international organizations operating in the Occupied Territories. It seems that the IDF is trying to prevent legitimate activity aimed at preserving the law and protecting human rights, and to conduct its operations away from public view. These actions by the IDF violate both Israeli and international law.
B’Tselem protests these actions, and demands that the government of Israel and the defense establishment refrain from taking any measures that impede the activity or endanger the safety of human rights workers in the Occupied Territories.