9 July 2021 (Download PDF UAWC statement)
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 Ramallah/Al-Bireh, leaving behind a standard military order dictating the closure of our main office for 6 months.
When invading, the Israeli occupation forces demolished our entrance door, caused a mess in the office and damaged part of our furniture (see photos and this video posted on twitter). In addition, they stole five hard drives, one laptop, a digital video recorder, as well as several books and documents.
UAWC condemns the Israeli raid, the damage done to our office and the military closure order in the strongest terms. This order is illegitimate and clearly politically-motivated. It targets our headquarters in order to disrupt our organization as a whole.
The raid and closure order represents a particularly provocative assault on Palestinian sovereignty, considering the fact that our headquarters are located in Area A of the West Bank, which is under full control of the Palestinian Authority, to which we respond.
We have moved to another office, where we are continuing our work with high determination to fulfil our obligations and commitments towards thousands of vulnerable Palestinian farmers and their families in Area C.
The Israeli raid and closure order cannot be seen detached from the aggressive defamation and defunding campaign by the Israeli government and organizations affiliated with it, directed at UAWC and Palestinian civil society at large. These campaigns have been documented by international NGOs and been recognized and condemned by the UN.
More specifically, the Israeli raid on our headquarters cannot be seen in isolation from the ‘review’ the Dutch government has launched last year into UAWC, in response to pressure from the Israeli government and organizations affiliated with it. This investigation has had a catalysing effect on the defamation and defunding campaign UAWC has been exposed to for years, to disrupt 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, partners and and beneficiaries – without any wrongdoing or neglect on UAWC’s part having been established so far.
We call on our partners and donors, and the Dutch government in particular, to condemn the Israeli raid and closure order against UAWC and to pressure the Israeli authorities to retract that order, 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 entrenching the Israeli occupation and annexation of Palestine and at defeating the Palestinians in their struggle for freedom, human rights and dignity.
Following the Israeli raid on and closure of our headquarters, we have received countless solidarity calls and e-mails from local and international civil society organizations and diplomatic missions.
We are most grateful for these heartening expressions of support for UAWC.
In addition, we warmly welcome all international solidarity and fundraising campaigns (see La Via Campesina Fundraising Campaign) in support of UAWC – they are essential at this critical hour.
UAWC headquarters in Ramallah/Al-Bireh, after Israeli military raid on 7 July 2021 around 3:00am: