Israel Bans “Terrorist” Human Rights NGOs

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In late October, Israel banned Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights monitoring group. The founder, Raha Shehadeh, told the New York Review of Books:

In 1978 I returned to Ramallah from my legal studies in London brimming with ideas about the importance of the rule of law and the possibilities for resisting the Israeli occupation using international law. The following year, I and two colleagues, a Yale graduate named Charles Shamas and the American lawyer Jonathan Kuttab, established an organization we called Al-Haq (Arabic for The Right) as an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in Geneva. It was one of the first human rights groups in the Arab world and the first and only one of its kind in the Israeli-occupied territories.

While it may seem like a violation of “international law” and Israel’s own self-acclaimed moral principles, the reality is that any ideology not firmly based in a transcendent moral source outside of human subjectivity is liable to shift according to human desires.

Terrorism itself is a term so loosely defined that it has been used by many governments around the world to automatically vilify anyone that opposes them. In American law, it refers to sub-national groups which utilize violence for political purposes.

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However, the term “nation-state” as defined by the Montevideo Convention and under Westphalian philosophy is not considered, and American law does not allow for review of the State Department’s designation of a FTO (foreign terrorist organization). [Cf. Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, 561 U.S. 1 (2010)]

The term “human rights” has multiple meanings as well, a shifting goalpost which is never truly defined. Many “inalienable human rights” are so thoroughly re-interpreted or defined in such a fashion that, in practicality, it creates a hierarchy wherein colonizers and imperialists are given categorical legal superiority over their victims.

Unfortunately, many diaspora ethnic Muslims who studied in the West accepted these beliefs without questioning them. As a result, when secular liberal states, such as Israel, refuse to allow their own ideologies to be utilized against them – it comes as a shock for some. Shehadah writes:

Will such criticism force Gantz to rescind the order? That is highly unlikely. For the time being, while the issue is in the public eye, the government may refrain from acting upon it or taking any reprisal against Al-Haq and its employees. But this will be only a temporary reprieve. The Israel Defense Forces, which have full control over the West Bank, will surely use the order and its powers to strike against Al-Haq, as it does against any other group thus tagged as “terrorist.”

Being labeled a terrorist means many things can occur to your organization, including being disbanded. Its members may be persecuted, incarcerated, or even killed.

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At the very least, modern states will employ surveillance techniques and hack the devices of members. According to Front Line Defenders:

As detailed in the Front Line Defenders report, “Six Palestinian human rights defenders hacked with NSO Group’s Pegasus Spyware,” Mohammad Al-Maskati, Digital Protection Coordinator at the organization was contacted by a staff member of Al-Haq on 16 October regarding concerns about their phone. A forensic analysis was immediately made and by the next day it was determined that Pegasus spyware was present.

Allah تعالى says:

لا يُقاتِلونَكُم جَميعًا إِلّا في قُرًى مُحَصَّنَةٍ أَو مِن وَراءِ جُدُرٍ ۚ بَأسُهُم بَينَهُم شَديدٌ ۚ تَحسَبُهُم جَميعًا وَقُلوبُهُم شَتّىٰ ۚ ذٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُم قَومٌ لا يَعقِلونَ

They will not fight you as a group except in fortified towns or from behind walls. Their harm between themselves is great. You perceive them as one body but their hearts are disunited, as they are a people who do not reason.

[Surah al-Hashr, The Banishment (59):14]
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