Society of St. Yves

Profile

Country/TerritoryIsrael
Websitehttp://saintyves.org/
Founded1991
In their own words"National and International Lobby[ing] and Advocacy," claiming "to bring the situation of the poor and marginalized to the attention of communities around the world."

Funding

Activities

  • Founded by Michel Sabbah “to help ‘the poor and the oppressed’ according to the social doctrine of the Catholic Church.”
  • Although St. Yves’ “primary thrust is in Legal Advocacy before the courts,” it also works to provide “information and awareness raising lectures with the aim of empowering the local community to know how to demand its rights.”

Ties to Terrorism

  • According to Arabic language media, in 2011, Society of St. Yves’ head of the advocacy department Raed Halabi was convicted and sentenced to 26-months in prison for “organizational activity in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine” (PFLP) – a designated terrorist organization in the USEUCanada, and Israel.
    • According to January 2005 Israeli court documents (on file with NGO Monitor), Halabi was a member of a PFLP terror cell who underwent military training and planned a shooting attack against Israeli forces.
    • According to Electronic Intifada, Halabi was convicted in 2004 and sentenced to two years in Israeli prison.
    • On June 29, 2020, Halabi published a Facebook post stating that “returning to the historical rules of the conflict is the only response to what is happening right now against our cause as a result of the Arab-Zionist-American-European conspiracyWe have to withdraw the recognition of what is called Israel, which is an illegal entity that was established by the logic of force and oppression, and will disappear only through the same logic, the logic of force and oppression. We must bring back the slogans of our revolution: no peace, no negotiation, no surrenderingWe have to voice a clear “no” to those who impose humiliating conditions on us in exchange for a few millions [of dollars]. A prostitute remains a prostitute and if she raises the price of her prostitution, we should reject prostitution, not beautify it just because it generates some money for us… Should we give this occupation space to eliminate us? Is it a proper reward for the Shahids and the prisoners that they leave behind a people that justifies and accepts its compromising leaders?” (emphasis added).
    • On December 12, 2012, while he was in prison, Raed Halabi’s mother, Um Raed, participated in a PFLP event marking the 45th anniversary of the founding of the PLFP. The event honored PFLP prisoners, and Raed’s mother participated in distributing awards to the honorees.
    • According to Arab media, Halabi worked for the PFLP-linked NGO Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P).
  • In March 2014, the Israeli police prevented a press conference in Jerusalem organized by the Society of St. Yves, claiming it was organized by the PFLP.

Political Advocacy

  • Accuses Israel of “discriminatory policies” and “breach[ing] international law,” and claims that “[Palestinian] land [is] swallowed up by the Israeli armed forces.”
  • St. Yves petitions Israeli courts and represents defendants in cases relating to “Jerusalem Residency,” “Freedom of Movement,” “House Demolitions,” “Land Confiscation,” and “Family Unification.”
    • In describing these issues, St. Yves accuses Israel of enforcing laws aimed at “limiting the number of Palestinians in Jerusalem.”
    • Condemns “restricting Israeli measures such as roadblocks, checkpoints and the separation barrier as well as arbitrary and punitive practices of closures within the West Bank,” completely ignoring the context of violence and terror, as well as Israel’s right to defend its citizens.
  • Founder Michel Sabbah authored (together with Naim Ateek of Sabeel and Atallah Hanna) the 2009 Kairos Palestine document, which calls for BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) against Israel; denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms; and rationalizes, justifies, and trivializes terrorism, calling it “legal resistance.”
  • Linda Brayer, founding member of St. Yves, has accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and alleged  that the Israeli government views Palestinians as “not fully human,” likening Israeli law to “the kind of law they must have had in Germany in 1935.”
  • In May 2020, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Society of St. Yves was a signatory on a letter to the International Labour Organization (ILO) claiming that  “In Palestine, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront Israel’s regime of institutionalised racial domination and oppression over the Palestinian people as a whole, which amounts to the crime of apartheid.” The letter condemned Israeli measures that allowed Palestinians to continue working and earning an income during the pandemic and went so far as to call on the ILO to bring Israel before its “committee of experts” for claimed violations of Palestinian labor rights.
  • In April 2020, Society of St. Yves published a report titled “Deprivation of Water as a Tool for Forcible Transfer : Cutting Off Water Lines from Masafer Yatta as a Model” alleging that “the occupation’s army pursues policies of house demolitions and water line destructions to accelerate the forceful displacement of Palestinians out of areas (C ).” The report ignored evidence that Israel provides Palestinians in the West Bank with more water than required under the Oslo framework and that poor management by the PA of infrastructure, waste, and theft of up to 50 percent of supplies in some Palestinian areas.
  • In May 2018, Society of St. Yves signed a call to the UN Human Rights Council to launch an “independent investigation into violations of international human rights and humanitarian law by Israel.” The call accuses Israel of “excessive, indiscriminate and disproportionate use of lethal force… [that]  may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity” (emphasis added).
  • In August 2017, Society of St. Yves launched a movie titled “From Shelter to Rubble: 50 Years of House Demolitions” that “sheds light on the direct relation between house demolition policies and the illegal settlement enterprise.”
  • In January 2017,Society of St. Yves, alongside Al-HaqBADILAl-Shabaka, and Jerusalem Legal Aid & Human Rights Center (JLAC), released an infographic aimed at “raising awareness of Israel’s apartheid policies in the city, its effects on the Palestinian population, and the gross violations of international humanitarian and human rights law that arise.” The infographic claims that “Since 1967, apartheid prevails” and that Israel has “been enacting discriminatory policies” in Jerusalem.
  • In April 2016, Society of St. Yves, together with BADIL and Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC), published a report titled “Punitive Residency Revocation: The most recent tool of forcible transfer,” accusing Israel of “colonization,” “silent transfer,” and “blatant violation[s] of International Humanitarian Law.”
  • In October 2015, during a wave of terrorism, St Yves condemned a decision that would allow the Minister of Interior to revoke the status of 19 Palestinians who committed terror attacks. The statement refers to these individuals as people who are “suspected of carrying out ‘terror attacks” and the decision as a “means of discriminatory punishment.”
  • Regularly contributes to Kairos Palestine’s “Christmas Alerts.” In the 2016 alert, Society of St Yves accused Israel of “grave violations” of international law and committing “psychological violence” against children.
  • In May 2013, issued a joint statement with Badil, AddameerAl MezanAlternative Information CenterDefense for Children International- Palestine, and others, marking the 65th anniversary of “the Nakba” and claiming that the “Israeli colonization, occupation and apartheid” regime had “targeted the indigenous presence of Palestinians.”

UN Activities

Partners

  • Member of the “Legal Taskforce,” together with other NGOs: ACRIBimkomHaMoked, UNDP, ICAHDPCATIRabbis For Human RightsPHRYesh Din, the Jerusalem Coalition, Addameer, the NRC, and others. The taskforce seeks to “employ lawyers and have legal action strategies in the struggle against the occupation.”
  • Member of the Coalition for Jerusalem, which aims “to oppose Israeli Government arbitrary measures… and to reaffirm that East Jerusalem is the capital of the future Palestinian state.”
  • Jointly prosecutes home demolitions in Jerusalem with the Jerusalem Legal Aid Center (JLAC) through the “Jerusalem House Demolition Learning Alliance.”
  • Member of the “Displacement Work Group,” an initiative of Badil and OCHA, comprised of NGOs including: Addameer, Al-Haq, Al-Mezan, AIC, ARIJ, Badil, BIMKOM, B’Tselem, CARE Intnl., DCI – Palestine section, Diakonia, EAPPI, Ir Amim, ICAHD, Maan Development Ctr, MAP UK, Oxfam UK, Oxfam Solidarite – Belgium, PA Govt. Spokesperson, PCHR, RHR, Society of St. Yves, Save the Children UK, Shatil, UNFPA, Stop the Wall, ACRI, UNFPA, WCLAC, World Vision, and Yesh Din.

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