Israel raids Palestinian children’s NGO; Garda & PSNI collaboration with perpetrators must end
In the early hours of Thursday 29th July 2021, Israeli occupation forces raided the headquarters of Defence for Children International – Palestine, confiscating computers, laptops, hard-drives and confidential legal files related to child prisoners.
The raid was conducted Israel’s notorious Border Police unit, which operates under the command of the Ministry of Public Security. The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign sent the below letter to the Irish government, highlighting the ongoing collaboration between the Irish police force, An Garda Síochána, and the Ministry of Public Security through the EU-funded ROXANNE research programme. A similar letter was also sent to the Minister for Justice in the NI Assembly as the Police Service of Northern Ireland are involved in the same project.
You too can take action by sending a couple of quick emails at the link below! 👇
TO: Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney
Minister for Justice, Heather Humphreys
CC: An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin,
Opposition Spokespeople for Foreign Affairs and Defence,
Members of the Cross Party Oireachtas Friends of Palestine group,
Interested TDs, Senators and MEPs.
Dear Ministers Coveney and Humphreys,
I am writing on behalf of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) to bring to your attention the recent raid by Israeli occupation forces on the offices of Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), one of Palestine’s most respected independent human rights advocacy and legal representative organisations.
DCIP is the local affiliate of Defence for Children International, which has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, UNICEF, UNESCO and the Council of Europe.
According to a statement from DCIP, at around 5.15am on 29th July 2021, members of the Israel Border Police broke into the organisation’s empty headquarters in Ramallah, where they “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.”
Thankfully, as no staff were present at the time of the raid they remain physically safe and free, although no reason was given for the raid, nor was any receipt of materials seized left behind. A full account of the raid, including video and photo evidence, can be accessed here.
Such raids on Palestinian civil society organisations by the Apartheid State of Israel are all too frequent. They have the triple aim of being intelligence gathering operations, attempts to intimidate human rights defenders, and to delegitimize the work of Palestinian NGOs and deter donors by insinuating they are ‘security threats’.
Israel’s actions in this regard are well documented, including most recently in a report by the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) entitled ‘Target Locked: The Unrelenting Israeli Smear Campaigns to Discredit Human Rights Groups in Israel, Palestine, and the Syrian Golan.’
As DCIP’s General Director, Khaled Quzmar – a keynote speaker at the 2019 Palestinian Children’s Conference in Dublin – states: “This latest act by Israeli authorities is part of an ongoing campaign to silence and eliminate Palestinian civil society and human rights organizations like DCIP. Israeli authorities must immediately end their efforts which seek to delegitimize and criminalize Palestinian human rights defenders and civil society organizations. The international community must hold Israeli authorities accountable.”
The Irish government must publicly condemn this, and other, attacks on Palestinian human rights defenders and legal representative organisations.
Furthermore, the involvement of the Israel Border Police should be of great concern to Irish authorities; An Garda Síochána is in direct collaboration in an EU funded project (ROXANNE) with Israel’s Ministry of Public Security, which oversees the operations of this notorious unit of the Israel Police. We have previously corresponded with both of your offices about this matter – including submitting a detailed dossier on the role of the Ministry. Hundreds of members of the Irish public have also made their concerns known to you.
We reiterate that it should be unconscionable for Ireland, a state that claims “respect for human rights and the promotion of human rights” as “a cornerstone of our foreign policy,” to allow its national police force to continue to act in collaboration with a ministry that oversees a vast array of daily human rights abuses and international law violations, including war crimes, and which is key pillar in the maintenance of what Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem, the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council, Yesh Din, and others call Israel system of apartheid in Palestine.
Palestinian human rights defenders must be able to carry out their legal activities free from threats, intimidation and violence. No Irish state body should be working in collaboration with the Israeli ministry responsible for these same threats, intimidation and violence.
We look forward to your response, and to action from your respective ministries.
Fatin Al Tamimi
Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign