Media Statement

29 October 2021

South African Government Denounces Decision by Israel to designate and brand six Palestinian civil society organisations without justification as terrorist organisations

The South African Government strongly objects to Israel’s unjust and without justification the designation and branding of six civil society organisations as terrorist groups.

The six civil society organisations that have been branded terrorist organisations by the Israeli Government are, namely; Al Had Centre for Applied International Law, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Bisan Centre for Research and Development, Defense for Children International-Palestine, Union of Palestinian Women Committees, and the Union of Agricultural Work.

On Tuesday, 19 October 2021, the Israeli Government, declared six Palestinian civil society organisations as ‘terrorist organisations’ under Israeli domestic Anti-Terrorism Law of 2016. This was done without any proper justification and credible evidence. These organisations offer, amongst others, free legal aid assistance to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, conduct key academic research on significant issues relating to improving Palestinian lives and most importantly are a source of advancement through research for Palestinian farmers using various agricultural projects.

The Government of South Africa further notes that these organisations now illegally branded by Israel as terrorists have been in existence for more than 30 years, collectively and have been operating peacefully, transparently and within legal prescripts.

The Government of South Africa therefore calls on the Israeli Government to:

  1. Stop the systematic disruption of the essential services provided by these organisations by de-classifying them as non-terrorist organisations.
  2. Allow for the renewal of all operational licenses of these organisations and other Palestinian organisations legitimately providing services to Palestinians.
  3. Allow with immediate effect all of these organisations to oversee their projects in Jerusalem.
  4. Allow and grant the necessary access to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons and interrogation centres where Palestinian prisoners are detained.
  5. Allow all agricultural experts access to agricultural sites in Jerusalem and West Bank.

The South African Government reiterates that the continued occupation by Israel of Palestine remains totally unjust and shameful as it takes away human rights of Palestinians.

The South African Government remains unequivocally committed to and values efforts aimed at reviving a political process, leading to the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, existing side by side in peace with Israel within internationally recognised borders, based on those existing on 4 June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in compliance with all relevant UN Resolutions, international law and internationally agreed parameters.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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