The army carried out searches overnight of offices in Ramallah used by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist organization, an IDF spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Palestinian sources said the searches took place at the offices of the Women’s Union, the Palestinian NGO Network and Addameer, an advocate for Palestinians in Israeli prisons, and that soldiers confiscated five computers from the latter group.

This comes “in the context of the UN’s decision [to recognize Palestine as a non-member state],” Allam Jarrar of the Palestinian NGO Network told reporters on Tuesday morning, as “Boycott Israel” leaflets lay strewn on the floor of the raided office.

“This a message by the Israelis to the Palestinians, saying that when they take decisions or form patriotic organizations to seek their freedom, the occupation will use aggression to try and stop us,” he said.

A number of Israeli NGOs came to the defense of the Palestinians groups and condemned the IDF actions in Ramallah.

B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories said the IDF did not provide the groups with an explanation for the searches or show a warrant.

It added that staff members were not present and that the soldiers damaged the offices.

“Actions such as those taken by the Israeli military threaten this free civic space and damage the protection Palestinian human rights,” B’Tselem said.

It noted that the raid had occurred hours after the end of international Human Rights Day on Monday.

The statement was signed by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel; The Association for Civil Rights in Israel; Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement; Hamoked – Center for the Defense of the Individual; Physicians for Human Rights – Israel; The Public Committee against Torture in Israel; Rabbis for Human Rights and Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights.

“The undersigned organizations protest yesterday’s aggressive treatment of three Palestinian civil society organizations by the Israeli military and demand that all property seized be restored and that the work of civil society organizations — and especially those comprised of human rights defenders – be protected and respected,” the statement said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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