News Release

* Sudan Coup * Israel Targets Rights Groups as “Terrorists”


    Elamin, an activist from Sudan now working in the tech sector in Washington State, said today: “The head of the sovereign council rounded up the prime minister and cabinet members. He dissolved the civilian government and declared a state of emergency. This is disheartening and Sudan’s dictators are vicious and violent. It is expected that people will resist, and military will respond violently.” Elamine co-wrote the piece “Removing Sudan From the Terror List Is Welcome; Yes to Assistance No to Extortion” last year with Michael Beer of Nonviolence International.

    As’ad AbuKhalil writes: “The coup happened just after [U.S. special envoy] Jeffrey Feltman met with members of the military junta. The notion that the U.S. urged a commitment to civilian transition is absurd especially given the junta’s pursuit of normalization with Israel — in return for U.S. support.”

    The Electronic Intifada reports: “Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz declared six prominent Palestinian human rights groups to be ‘terrorist organizations’ on Friday.

    “The defense ministry order accuses the groups of serving ‘as an arm of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,’ a leftist political party banned by Israel, the U.S. and the European Union due to its opposition to normalization with Israel.

    “Some of the six targeted groups — Al-Haq, Addameer, Defense for Children International Palestine, the Union of Palestinian Women Committees, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees and the Bisan Center for Research and Development — have cooperated closely with the International Criminal Court in its war crimes probe in the West Bank and Gaza.”

    Kuttab was a founder of Al-Haq and is now executive director of Friends of Sabeel-North America, which just released a statement: “FOSNA Statement on Israel’s Labeling of Top Palestinian Human Rights Agencies as ‘Terrorist Organizations.’

    Kuttab states: “Al-Haq is now one of several world-renowned and respected human rights organizations. I am proud to say that over the years Al-Haq has meticulously maintained its high standards and, after the Oslo process, was courageous enough to apply the same standards of objectivity, independence, and defense of human rights not just to the Israeli occupation, but also to the behaviour of the Palestinian Authority, and also of Hamas.

    “I was therefore shocked, though not surprised, when Israel [on Friday] declared Al-Haq, together with Addamir, Defence of Children International-Palestine, and three other human rights organizations to be ‘terrorist organizations.'”

    Kuttab assessed the possible reasons for Gantz’s actions, including: “Israel no longer cares about its reputation and no longer fears international public opinion, or any sanctions by the international community. The fact that it has been successful so far in avoiding accountability, and that just a few months ago it ransacked the offices of Defense for Children International in Ramallah with little or no push back emboldened it to do whatever it wants without fear of repercussions. Its assault on civil society can go on unchallenged.”