Logos of the 6 targeted organisations

Letter to EU in defence of 6 Palestinian human rights organisations
7 minutes

Over 100 European political parties, trade unions, human rights organisations and civil society groups sent a letter to Josep Borell, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, outlining their grave concern at Israel’s decision to label six Palestinian human rights NGOs as “terrorist entities”. Vrede vzw signed the letter.

The letter, states that the EU has not done enough to protect these Palestinian groups, calls for a clear rejection of the designation by the EU, and asks the EU to suspend the acceptance of Israel into the highly lucrative Horizon Europe research and development programme. 

Among the signatories of the letter are political parties like Sinn Féin (Ireland), Europe Ecologie Les Verts (France), Parti Communiste Français (PCF), People Before Profit (Ireland), BIJ1 (Netherlands), trade unions including major trade union confederations in Ireland, Italy and France.

Internationally, signatories include the International Federation for Human Rights, The Rights Forum, Via Campesina and others.

Text of the letter below and in PDF.


Brussels, 25 November 2021

Dear High Representative,

As organisations based in Europe, we would like to alert you to the extremely serious situation created by the slander of the State of Israel against six of the most important and internationally renowned Palestinian human rights organisations: Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al Haq – Law in the service of men, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International – Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.

After their classification as “terrorists” on 22 October, and with the subsequent military banning order on 7 November, they are in great danger: their premises may be invaded or closed down, their equipment confiscated, their leaders and staff arrested and their funding is put in danger. The protection services they provide to the Palestinian population, as well as their ability to inform international bodies about human rights violations in Palestine, are themselves jeopardised by this decision. The European Union must remain true to its own values; it must protect them.

The statement by the EEAS Spokesperson on October 28 was not commensurate with the gravity of this threat. By stating that the EU “takes such allegations extremely serious” and by “engaging Israeli authorities for more information”, it gives weight to allegations against partners that the European Union has known perfectly well for years, and it legitimises the idea that the State of Israel would have a legitimate reason to take up the issue. This is doubly false: firstly because these organisations are subject to Palestinian law, and the State of Israel has no business declaring them as unlawful, and secondly because the Israeli leaders who accuse them are the same ones who could be implicated by the ICC procedures, which themselves could be based on the information and investigation files provided by these NGOs.

We therefore ask you first of all for a much clearer public statement on this issue. In particular, we ask you to:

  • clearly reject the Israeli allegations and question their legitimacy,
  • publicly renew your confidence in these human rights organisations, which are doing  remarkable and indispensable work on the ground,
  •  formally ask the Israeli government to reverse its decisions to designate and subsequently ban them,
  •  inform all donors and financial intermediaries of your rejection of the decisions taken by the  State of Israel and of your confidence in the NGOs in question,
  • officially receive, at your level, the leaders of these NGOs and assure them of your full  support,
  • publicly and financially support the action of the ICC including the case for Palestine.

Beyond this indispensable statement, it is necessary to take action.

The first act that you can take, together with the European Commission of which you are Vice President, concerns the agreement to include Israel in the Horizon Europe research and development programme. While one can imagine that even the simple respect of the July 2013 guidelines was not frankly approved by Israel, the Commission probably wanted to make a “positive gesture” towards Israel by declaring on 18 October that the negotiations were over. We know the result: four days later, the State of Israel launched the most serious offensive in history against Palestinian human rights organisations. A few days later, on 30th October, the Israeli ambassador tore up the report of the UN Human Rights Council at the UN.

In such a context, the signing of this agreement, scheduled for 9 December, would be a disgrace for Europe. We ask you, Mr. High Representative, to take the necessary measures to suspend the signing of this agreement. This is a simple measure of decency. Beyond that, more binding measures will have to be taken if the State of Israel persists in its position.


  1. European Coordination of Committees and Association for Palestine (ECCP) – Europe

  2. Fédération Internationale pour les droits humains – FIDH

  3. Trócaire – Ireland

  4. Sinn Féin – political party – Ireland

  5. Europe Ecologie Les Verts – political party – France

  6. Confédération générale du travail (CGT) – trade union – France

  7. FIOM-CGIL – trade union – Italy

  8. Irish Congress of Trade Unions – trade union confederation – Ireland
  9. Unite the Union, Ireland Region – trade union – Ireland
  10. UNISON Northern Ireland – trade union – Ireland
  11. People Before Profit – political party – Ireland

  12. Parti Communiste Français (PCF) – political party – France

  13. Parti de Gauche – political party – France 

  14. Ensemble! – political party – France

  15. BIJ1 (Political party) – Netherlands

  16. Mouvement des Jeunes Communistes de France – political party France

  17. Confédération Paysanne – trade union – France

  18. Fórsa SENO Branch – trade union – Ireland

  19. Belfast and District Trades Union Council – trade union – Ireland

  20. Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign – Ireland
  21. Trade Union Friends of Palestine – Ireland

  22. MOC – Movement of Christian Workers – trade union – Belgium

  23. Union syndicale Solidaires – trade union – France

  24. Craigavon Council of Trade Unions – trade union – Ireland

  25. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) – MENA 

  26. European Coordination Via Campesina – Europe 

  27. European Trade Union Network for Justice in Palestine – Europe 

  28. Sadaka – The Ireland Palestine Alliance – Ireland
  29. Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH) – France

  30. Suomen Rauhanpuolustajat – Finnish Peace Committee

  31. Defence for Children International – Switzerland

  32. Defence for Children International – Belgium

  33. Students for Justice in Palestine Dublin City University – Ireland

  34. Fédération Syndicale Unitaire (FSU) – France 

  35. MRAP – France

  36. The Rights Forum – Netherlands

  37. Jewish Voice for Just Peace Ireland – Ireland
  38. Centre for Global Education – Ireland

  39. Cairde Palestine Belfast – Ireland

  40. Gaza Action Ireland – Ireland
  41. Academics for Palestine – Ireland

  42. MENA GROUP/Rete in difesa di (diritti umani e chi li difende) – Italy

  43. Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) – France
  44. Union des Progressistes Juifs de Belgique (UPJB) – Belgium 

  45. Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine (AURDIP)  – France

  46. British Committee for the Universities of Palestine – UK

  47. Plateforme des ONGs Françaises pour la Palestine – France

  48. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Finland

  49. Humanitas-Centre for global learning and cooperation – Slovenia

  50. Association Belgo-Palestinienne – Belgium

  51. France Palestine Mental Health Network – France

  52. Viva Salud – Belgium

  53. Union Juive Française pour la Paix – France

  54. ICAHD Finland – Finland

  55. Deutscher Koordinationskreis Palastina Israel (KOPI) – Germany

  56. European Legal Support Center – Netherlands

  57. Comite Pour Une Paix Juste Au Proche Orient – Luxembourg
  58. Cultura è libertà, una campagna per la Palestina – Italy

  59. AssopacePalestina – Italy

  60. DocP – BDS Nederland – Netherlands
  61. Nederlands Palestina Komitee – Netherlands
  62. Buendnis fuer Gerechtigkeit zwischen Israelis und Palaestinensern e.V. BIP – Germany

  63. BDS Berlin-  Germany

  64. Finnish-Arab Friendship Society – Finland
  65. Association pour le jumelage entre les camps de réfugiés palestiniens et les villes françaises  (AJPF) – France

  66. Pand – Performars and Artists for Peace – Finland

  67. Društvo UP Jesenice – Slovenia

  68. Belgian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (BACBI) – Belgium
  69. Mouvement de la Paix – France

  70. Une Autre Voix Juive – France

  71. Association des Travailleurs Maghrébins de France – France
  72. Collectif Judéo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Palestine – France

  73. Fédération des Tunisiens pour une Citoyenneté des deux Rives (FTCR) – France

  74. Vrede vzw – Belgium

  75. Dynamo International – Belgium

  76. Les Femmes en Noir – France

  77. Rete Romana di Solidarietà con il Popolo Palestinese – Italy

  78. Rete Antirazzista – Firenze, Italy

  79. Association France Palestine Solidarité Nîmes, France

  80. Association “Pour Jérusalem” – France

  81. Odv Salaam Ragazzi Dell’Olivo Comitato Di Tireste – Italy

  82. Forum Palestine Citoyenneté – France

  83. Comité de Vigilance pour une Paix réelle au Proche-Orient – France

  84. Assopace Palestina Firenze – Italy

  85. Chrétiens de la Méditerranée – France

  86. Associazione Cinema e Diritti – Italy

  87. Associazione di Amicizia Italo-Palestinese NLUS – Italy

  88. Comitato Pistoiese per la Palestina – Italy

  89. Donne in nero Italia – Italy

  90. COSPE – Italy

  91. CRED – centro di ricerca ed elaborazione per la democrazia – Italy 

  92. Campagna Ponti e non Muri di Pax Christi Italia – Italy

  93. Giuristi Democratici – Italy

  94. CPPI Saint-Denis [ Collectif Paix Palestine Israël] – France

  95. New Weapons Research Group – Italy

  96. Women in Black Vienna – Austria 

  97. Slovene Philanthropy –  Slovenia

  98. Not in Our Name – For a Just Peace in the Middle East – Czech Republic

  99. Collectif Faty Koumba – France

  100. La Courneuve Palestine – France

  101. Comité pour le Respect des Libertés et des Droits de l’Homme en Tunisie – France

  102. BDS Italia – Italy
  103. Stichting – Groningen-Jabalya – Netherlands

  104. UK-Palestine Mental Health Network – UK

  105. Wilpf – Finland

  106. Ipri-ccp – Italy

  107. Comunità delle Piagge – Italy

  108. Aderisco a nome del Comitato varesino er la Palestina – Italy

  109. Pro Palestina – Italy

  110. Stradafacendo – Italy

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