Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Home World In Israel, new reprieve for Human Rights Watch director threatened with deportation

In Israel, new reprieve for Human Rights Watch director threatened with deportation

► Why is Omar Shakir threatened with deportation to Israel?

The motive is more and more regularly invoked in the courts. At the helm of Human Rights Watch's (HRW) local office for Israel and the Palestinian Territories since 2017, US citizen Omar Shakir will not have escaped the heightened control of the Jewish state over NGO or academic sectors. . Accused by the authorities to make 'Propaganda' Palestinian, he had been summoned by an Israeli court to leave the country before 1st may. But Tuesday, April 30, the Israeli Supreme Court agreed to allow him a period of one week, time to consider his appeal.

Far from being new, the case was punctuated by many twists and turns. At the beginning of May 2018, shortly after the expiry of his first one-year work visa, the Ministry of the Interior had indeed announced its decision to end the residence permit of Omar Shakir, on the basis of information according to which it would have been " For years " an active activist from movement BDS (for Boycott, divestment, sanctions). Government's pet peeve, Israel's global campaign of economic, cultural or scientific boycott is campaigning for the end of the occupation and colonization of the Palestinian territories.

NGO Human Rights Watch denied a visa in Israel

"Neither I nor any HRW representative is promoting this movement, and the Israeli Interior Ministry itself finally acknowledged that last year, Omar Shakir says. Our NGO identifies, documents and condemns abuses committed in defense of rights. " According to him, the government would have relied on a survey of the Ministry of strategic affairs identifying "evidence" (screenshots of student groups, tweets, petitions signed for most years earlier …) to justify his expulsion.

► Why did the Supreme Court grant this additional stay?

The delay is short, but it could soon be significantly lengthened. According to Omar Shakir's lawyer, Me Michael Sfard, Israel's highest court, issued a new injunction on Tuesday (April 30th) allowing the US citizen to stay in the territory for seven more days. After May 7, the Supreme Court "Could theoretically publish a new decision" to extend this period, still specified Thursday, May 2 the jurist.

For Omar Shakir, the game is not lost yet. "We are really living from day to day now, hoping that the Supreme Court will come back on this dangerous decision"continues the local director of the NGO. "What will happen is hardly predictable, but there has already been a positive precedent, while the high court ruled in October last, in favor of granting a visa for a 22-year-old American student [Lara Alqasem, NDLR], accused of having also supported the BDS campaign. "

► How has the Israeli government increased its pressure?

Hunting witches, psychological pressure, cutting NGO food, expensive fines or restrictions, travel restrictions … "Since 2006, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs has deployed significant resources to monitor the detractors of Israeli policy," points out an Israeli analyst who says: "In 2017, the Parliament also passed a text compelling NGOs to declare their situation administratively when they receive more than half of their funds from foreign governments, and a law banning any entry to foreign personalities who have called for a boycott of Israel. "

Tribune: Israel, a state outside the law

In late April, the Jewish state refused to allow the entry of two human rights lawyers in the US, Vincent Warren and Katherine Franke. "What happens to HRW is now far more than our only association, and is part of a much broader phenomenon, Omar Shakir concludes. The authorities want to muzzle any form of advocacy that is critical of their governance. "

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