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THE Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network said that it would not be silenced today after Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz designated it as a terrorist organisation.
Samidoun said the move was “the latest manifestation of a smear campaign that is intended to silence international support for the Palestinian people and especially the nearly 5,000 Palestinians jailed by the Israeli occupation.”
Its statement added: “This is an attack on the Palestinian prisoners’ movement as well as the right of Palestinians in exile and diaspora to organise. We affirm that we will not be silenced or deterred by Israel’s smear campaigns.”
Mr Gantz made his decision based on information provided by Israeli internal security service Shin Bet and the National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing of Israel.
Officials claim Samidoun was founded in 2012 by leading figures from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a revolutionary Marxist–Leninist group, and operates as its international network.
But Samidoun branded the accusations false and misleading, and said they contain a number of inaccuracies including the claim that it is led by writer Khaled Barakat.
The group said the allegations came directly from “right-wing propaganda organisation NGO Monitor, which aims to shield Israel from international accountability for war crimes by smearing human-rights defenders in Palestine and around the world.”
Samidoun said it is a grassroots organisation with chapters around the world campaigning for freedom for Palestinian prisoners and an end to Israel’s illegal occupation.
“It is for these reasons and these reasons alone that Israel’s Defence Ministry, engaged in daily war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Palestinian people under occupation, is attacking Samidoun’s work,” it said.
“This is a further attempt to use repression and threats against the Palestinian people and their international allies as a campaign activity for Benny Gantz’s [Israel Resilience Party] in the Israeli elections.”
Samidoun said it was one of many activist entities being targeted by the Israeli state and that many have paid a much higher price, including imprisonment, torture and assassination.
“We are proud to stand with all of those who face such smear campaigns and repressive attacks, by intensifying our work and coming together to confront Israeli apartheid, occupation, war crimes and colonisation, and organising for the liberation of Palestine.”
The group urged activists and organisations to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and join them to build the resistance by contacting email@example.com.
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