UN contacts Israel regarding closures of seven Palestine West Bank institutions 

Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General of the United Nations Farhan Haq (UN)

Middle East Monitor  /  August 20, 2022

The United Nations (UN) announced on Friday that it is continuing contact with Israel regarding its army storming seven Palestinian NGOs in the city of Ramallah in the West Bank on Thursday.

During a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General of the United Nations Farhan Haq confirmed that the UN is still in contact with the Israeli authorities regarding the closures of the Palestinian institutions.

“United Nations agencies working in the Occupied Palestinian Territory said that they and their partners take seriously allegations of funding terrorism and the Israeli designations of seven Palestinian organizations as ‘terror organizations’ and/or ‘unlawful’,” added Haq.

“Israeli authorities have not given any compelling evidence to the United Nations agencies nor its NGO partners working in the Occupied Palestinian Territory to support these designations,” noted Haq.

He continued: “The attempted closures of these organizations’ offices represent the latest in a series of actions by Israel that are further limiting the ability of human rights, humanitarian and development work in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which affect all institutions working to promote human rights, development and delivering assistance. The UN agencies urge the Government of Israel to refrain from any action that would prevent these organizations from continuing their critical human rights, humanitarian and development work in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

On Thursday, an Israeli military unit stormed the headquarters of seven Palestinian NGOs in Ramallah and Al-Bireh, closing them down.

The seven organizations are Addameer for Prisoner Care and Human Rights, Al-Haq, Bisan Centre for Research and Development, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, the Defense for Children International-Palestine and the Union of Health Work Committees.

Last year, the Israeli authorities decided to shut down six of the institutions, claiming that they were “terrorist organizations”, closing them again this year with a seventh institution, the Union of Health Work Committees.

At the time, European countries stopped working with the six institutions included in the decision. However, on 11 July, they resumed work with the NGOs, announcing that they would continue to work with them due to the lack of evidence to support the Israeli claim.