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Many of the issues affecting the work of human rights defenders in Israel are linked to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. A number of non governmental organisations exist in Israel which monitor the situation of Palestinians in the OPT and encourage religious pluralism and cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians.
The situation has deteriorated in the last four years and more particularly in the years 2010 and 2011, following operation “Cast Lead” in Gaza in 2008/2009. Issues of particular concern include the continuing use of administrative detention of HRDs that denounce the occupation, the settlements and the construction of the wall; increased restrictions on the movement of Palestinian HRDs in the form of travel bans and visa restrictions for international NGO humanitarian workers; hostility towards NGOs that carry out human rights work; the adoption of legislation restricting the space for civil society; curtailment of freedom of association, expression and assembly.
Following the publication of the Goldstone Report in 2009, the Israeli government introduced several laws that target human rights NGOs that work to protect the rights of Palestinians in Israel and OPT. In November 2011, the Knesset approved the “NGO Funding Bill” that restrict funding by foreign governments and entities of human rights NGOs in Israel. Amongst other measures restricting the right of NGOs to access funding, the new legislative provisions introduced a cap of 4,000 euros on international funding contributions.
A separate Bill on Prohibition of Imposing a Boycott, adopted by the Knesset in July 2011, restricted freedom of expression as it punishes non-violent means of protest against Israeli occupation and the expansion of settlements in the OPT. In January 2011, a proposal was also tabled in the Knesset to establish a parliamentary commission tasked with investigating NGOs campaigning for the prosecution of Israeli soldiers involved in human rights violations.
Other laws passed by the Knesset, including the 2011 Duty of Disclosure for Recipients of Support from a Foreign Political Entity Law, introduced further restrictions on freedom of association and expression and discriminate against non-Jewish NGOs.
30 November 2012
15 November 2012
09 November 2012
28 August 2012
18 July 2011
Israel/OPT – Raids on Ramallah-based offices of Palestinian human rights organisations by Israeli Defence Forces
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