[News] Israel raids office of children's rights group, confiscates computers, files

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jul 29 20:36:28 EDT 2021

raids office of children's rights group, confiscates computers, files
July 29, 2021

Israeli forces raided Defense for Children International – Palestine's
headquarters in the central occupied West Bank, confiscating computers and
client files, early Thursday morning.

Israeli paramilitary border police forces raided DCIP's headquarters
located in Al-Bireh's Sateh Marhaba neighborhood, located just south of
Ramallah around 5:15 a.m. on July 29. More than a dozen Israeli soldiers
forced open the office's locked front door and confiscated six desktop
computers, two laptops, hard drives, and client files related to
Palestinian child detainees represented by DCIP's lawyers in Israel's
military courts. No documents were left in the office to give any
indication of the reason for the raid, and they did not leave behind any
receipt of materials seized.

"This latest act by Israeli authorities pushes forward an ongoing campaign
to silence and eliminate Palestinian civil society and human rights
organizations like DCIP," said Khaled Quzmar, general director at DCIP.
"Israeli authorities must immediately end efforts aimed at delegitimizing
and criminalizing Palestinian human rights defenders and civil society
organizations, and the international community must hold Israeli
authorities accountable."

Video surveillance footage from inside the DCIP office shows Israeli forces
entering the premises at 5:15 a.m. The Israeli soldiers move through the
DCIP office gathering computers, laptops, and files, and then cut the
closed-circuit television camera feed at 5:27 a.m.

Israeli, Palestinian, and international human rights and humanitarian
organizations face an increasingly difficult operating environment and
shrinking civic space in Israel and the occupied West Bank, including East
Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Recent attempts to delegitimize humanitarian
and human rights organizations operating in the Occupied Palestinian
Territory, in particular, have been on the rise in recent years, negatively
impacting their ability to deliver assistance and advocate on behalf of
Palestinian human rights.

Delegitimization attempts and disinformation have been advanced by a network
of rising nationalist
Israeli civil society organizations and associated organizations elsewhere,
with the support of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. These efforts
take the form of targeted and organized defamation campaigns based on a
range of allegations related to the violation of counter-terrorism
legislation and international law. In most cases, if not all, these
allegations are erroneous, misrepresent, and distort critical factual or
legal elements.

In February 2020, following a defamation campaign waged by Israeli
officials and right-wing organizations, the Government of Belgium
effectively rescinded
<https://www.972mag.com/palestinian-children-security-council/> its
invitation to Brad Parker, DCIP's senior adviser for policy and advocacy,
to address the UN Security Council. Parker had been invited to brief
Security Council members on violations of children's rights in Israel and
the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

In June 2019, DCIP, represented by Bindmans LLP, issued libel proceedings
against the U.K.-based group UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) in London at the
High Court of Justice for publishing blog posts on their website and
sending letters to institutional donors alleging DCIP had strong "links" to
a designated terrorist group. UKLFI alleged that "donations to DCIP have
encouraged and/or facilitated acts of terrorism" and threatened to report
donors to relevant authorities if they did not cease providing DCIP with
financial support. In March 2020, DCIP reached a settlement
in its defamation case in which UKLFI recanted allegations that DCIP
provides support to terrorist organizations.

"Rather than demand Israeli forces end serious breaches of international
law or that Israeli authorities hold perpetrators accountable, rising
conservative nationalist social forces in Israel, including government
ministries and agencies, aim to silence and eliminate legitimate human
rights work that exposes widespread human rights violations inherent in
Israel's military occupation of Palestinians," Quzmar said.

DCIP is an independent, local Palestinian child rights organization
dedicated to defending and promoting the rights of children living in the
West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. For 30 years, DCIP
has investigated, documented, and exposed grave human rights violations
against Palestinian children; provided legal services to children in urgent
need; held Israeli and Palestinian authorities accountable to universal
human rights principles; and advocated at the international and national
levels to advance access to justice and protection for children.

DCIP passes all international and rigorous financial and due diligence
vetting mechanisms, including checking information against banking, law
enforcement, and US Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Control
(OFAC) watchlists. DCIP is vetted and supported by various international,
regional, and national institutions and government partners and donors. All
DCIP programming, including monitoring and documentation work and
evidence-based output, remains independent and strictly based on
international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

"As the Israeli government becomes increasingly emboldened and acts to
criminalize legitimate human rights and humanitarian work carried out by
Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations, I am deeply
concerned that politically motivated prosecutions in Israel's military
court system will become the norm," Quzmar said.

*READ: **US congressmen seek to introduce bill banning UNRWA donations
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