The Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine Israel Network (EPF PIN) condemns the early morning raid of August 18th in Ramallah when Israeli forces forcibly entered, ransacked and confiscated property of six Palestinian NGOs before welding shut their entrances. The illegal raid included the human rights organization Al Haq, whose offices are rented from St. Andrew’s Anglican/Episcopal Church.
Agence France Press quoted the Rev. Fadi Diab, rector of St. Andrews, as saying, “The soldiers came into the premises around 3:00 a.m. and we started hearing shots and banging on the doors.” Church property suffered substantial damage. These actions were immediately condemned in a Facebook posting by the Diocese of Jerusalem and Archbishop Hosam Naoum, who called the attack “both a violation of international law and a terroristic attack against the entire community.” The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem demanded that Israeli authorities conduct a speedy investigation into the events.
In October 2021, the Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine Israel Network reported on and condemned Israel’s designation of the six organizations as “terror organizations,” alleging affiliation with PFLP, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which it considers to be a terrorist organization. Israel’s Defense Minister justified the raids in Ramallah as “ratifying” that designation, although in the ten months since the designation Israel has failed to provide any evidence whatsoever to substantiate the allegation. In July 2022, nine states of the European Union rejected Israel’s designation. EU spokesperson Nabila Massrali said in response to the raids, “Past allegations of misuse of EU funds in relation to certain Palestinian civil society organizations have not been substantiated. The EU will continue to stand by international law and support civil society organizations”.
Al Haq released an alert containing detailed descriptions of the raid, damage done, and threats made by Israeli forces. Al Haq pledged to continue its work. Al Haq called on Israel to rescind the “terrorist” designations and called on the international community to pressure Israel to reverse the military orders. It further asked for people to “take concrete measures, such as trade restrictions and arms embargoes, to ensure that Israel is held internationally responsible for its ongoing systematic inhumane acts of apartheid, including the persecution of Palestinian human rights defenders.”
Israel’s actions last October to set these events in motion have now resulted in threatening acts of violence that have spilled over to also affect the lives of St. Andrew’s worshippers and staff. It is a classic example of Israel’s unrelenting, unchecked encroachments into the sanctity of Palestinian life. EPF PIN urges members of The Episcopal Church to fully realize the widespread injuries and injustices brought about by Israel’s ongoing occupation and policies toward the Palestinian people. We join Al Haq in the call to hold Israel accountable for its actions and for Israel to adhere to international law and honor the human rights of all peoples.