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Al-Haq says staff members received death threats

By Bao Yen - March 07, 2016
Section: [Main News]

Palestinian NGO Al-Haq has been the latest victim of an attack and smear campaign that resulted in a series of death threats targeting its senior staff members.

In an official public statement, Al-Haq confirmed that their General Director, Shawan Jabarin, along with a senior staff member of the organization, have received phone calls to their private contacts from an anonymous caller who sent out death threats concerning their work at Al-Haq.

This was not the first time that the Palestinian human rights NGO and their staff members have received threats.

Al-Haq says it has confronted various forms of harassment by Israeli authorities since its inception, many of which have led to detentions or travel bans imposed on its staff members and false accusations against its operational transparency.

According to Al-Haq, those attacks, however, have intensified in the recent months as a response to the organisation’s achievements at international level.

"We have reasons to believe that these attacks have increased with the success Al-Haq has achieved at the International Criminal Court and with EU's decisions to label settlement products", says Tahseen Elayyan, Head of Monitoring and Documentation Department at Al-Haq.

"Based on the techniques and methods [of these threats], we believe that it was not by an individual, but there is an organization behind it", Elayyan added.

Since September 2015, Al-Haq has received a number of anonymous calls, emails and Facebook posts accusing the organization of fraudulent activities and lack of financial transparency. The attacks claimed to come from the Palestinian Authority.

During the same period, Al-Haq's partners and donors also received messages asserting that Al-Haq was under investigation by Ernst and Young for corruption.

All of these allegations turned out to be unfounded. The Palestinian Authority released a statement that rejected the false accusations while expressing its support for Al-Haq as a "leading civil society organization", while Ernst and Young also stated that no investigation on Al-Haq was undertaken.

Despite all this, the harassment still continued. It took an extreme turn when Al-Haq's staff members were exposed to death threats roughly two weeks ago.

The source of the attacks remains anonymous, but Al-Haq convinced that they are part of an institutionalized and organized campaign against the NGO.

"There have been direct attacks on Al-Haq from the Israeli Minister of Justice, Israeli newspapers and Israeli organizations and institutions both at the local level and abroad", Al-Haq's statement reads.

Investigation is underway to identify those responsible for the threats.

"We have no secrets in terms of the work that we do. [These threats] will not affect us and we will continue our work to defend for the victims of Israeli occupation through legal means," Elayyan told the Palestine Monitor.

Al-Haq is one of the leading NGOs in Palestine that pressured the Palestinian Authority to appeal to the International Criminal Court for Israel's war crimes and violations of international law. The organization is also active in calling on international communities for a ban on settlement products.

In November 2015, the European Commission released guidelines on labeling the origins of products from the territories occupied by Israel since 1967.




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