In a statement the overseas development agency described the move as an “attack” on international human rights, and an alarming escalation of ongoing attempts to silence the voices of Palestine’s most prominent human rights organisations.
The Trócaire statement came after the Israeli Defense Ministry effectively outlawed six Palestinian civil society groups. They are al-Haq, (a longstanding Trócaire partner), Addameer, Defense for Children Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Bisan Center for Research and Development and the Union of Palestinian Women Committees.
Under a 2016 Israeli statute the organisations are now prohibited from receiving funding or even publicly expressing support for their activities, and gives Israeli authorities the power to close their offices, seize their assets and arrest and jail their staff members.
Trócaire CEO, Caoimhe de Barra, urged the Irish government to condemn this move and have it challenged and reversed. She noted that in May the Dáil unanimously passed a motion condemning Israel’s “de facto annexation” of Palestinian territory as a violation of the fundamental principles of international law, making Ireland the first EU country to do so.
Ms de Barra said: “Irish political representatives have already shown great leadership in taking this important stand in setting a precedent within the EU on annexation. The government must follow up now in condemning this latest development.”
“For decades, Israeli authorities have systematically sought to muzzle human rights monitoring and punish those who criticise its repressive rule over Palestinians. This development is an extremely worrying escalation.”
“How Ireland and the international community responds will be a true test of its resolve to protect human rights defenders. Trócaire is proud to have worked with our Palestinian partners over the years on protecting human rights and we stand with them in challenging this outrageous decision.”