Statement by UAWC after Israeli military raid on our headquarters in Al-Bireh
7 July 2021
Today, on Wednesday 7 July 2021 at around 3:00 am, Israeli occupation forces raided the headquarters of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) in Al-Bireh city, leaving behind a military order dictating the closure of our main office for six month (see page 2).
When invading, the Israeli occupation forces demolished our entrance door, caused a mess in our entire office and damaged part of our furniture (see photos on page 3). In addition, they stole five hard drives, one laptop, a digital video recorder, as well as several books and documents.
The Israeli closure order is illegitimate and clearly politically-motivated. It targets our headquarters in order to disrupt our organization as a whole. Our headquarters are located in Area A of the West Bank under full control of the Palestinian Authority, to which we respond.
We are currently moving to a new office, where we will continue our work as of tomorrow morning. We will do so to prevent serious harm to more than 20,000 farmers, who rely on UAWC in the face of unabating threats of demolitions and land confiscations in Area C.
The Israeli raid cannot be seen detached from the aggressive defamation and defunding campaign by the Israeli government and organizations affiliated with it, targeting Palestinian civil society at large and UAWC in particular.
In particular, the raid cannot be seen in isolation from the external review the Dutch government has launched into UAWC. This investigation has had a catalysing effect on the virulent defamation and defunding campaign UAWC has been exposed to for years, due to our work in Area C.
While UAWC has cooperated with the Dutch review, we cannot ignore it has already done tremendous damage to our organization – without any wrongdoing or neglect on UAWC’s part having been established so far. As we have clarified before, the real price is paid by thousands of Palestinian farmers and their families.
We call on our donors, and the Dutch government in particular, to condemn the Israeli closure order and to pressure the Israeli authorities to retract it, so we can restore our organizational capacity. Doing so is also relevant to protecting Palestinian civil society at large against the escalating Israeli campaigns and measures aimed at defeating the Palestinians in their struggle for freedom, human rights and human dignity.
Israeli military closure order left behind on 7 July 2021 at UAWC headquarters:
UAWC headquarters in Al-Bireh, following Israeli military raid on 7 July 2021
around 3:00 am: