Israel gives HRW director two weeks to leave country


In December, the Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Ministry furnished a dossier "on Shakir's activities in the boycott field over the years".

Fifteen Israeli human rights organizations have denounced their government's decision to deport the local director of Human Rights Watch, saying that such actions put Israel "squarely on a list of disreputable states".

In the book, though not cited in the Israeli government's dossier, Shakir describes his commitment to human rights in a manner entirely consistent with his future work with Human Rights Watch.

Barring access to those documenting human rights abuses won't hide Israel's mass violations carried out in the context of more than 50 years of occupation.

The group said it applied in January 2018 to extend Shakir's work visa, which was due to expire on March 31.

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Human Rights Watch accuses Israel of attempting to "shut down criticism" after director ordered to leave.

Human Rights Watch reiterated its full support for Shakir and said it has retained lawyers "to challenge the decision before an Israeli court". The Interior Ministry acknowledged in its May 7 letter that "no information has surfaced regarding such (boycott) activities" since Shakir joined Human Rights Watch. "Israel must repeal laws that arbitrarily restrict human rights advocacy, including criticism of human rights violations and breaches of global humanitarian law that it has committed". Human Rights Watch also defends individuals' right to express their views through nonviolent means, including participating in boycotts.

Israel's strategic affairs ministry has been allocated $36m to combat the BDS movement.

"The Israeli authorities must immediately stop their ongoing harassment of human rights defenders". Israeli officials have accused Israeli advocacy groups of "slander" and of discrediting the state or army, and, based on a law adopted in 2016, have required from them extensive financial reporting that burdens their advocacy.

Last month, Human Rights Watch accused Israel of carrying out a "calculated" campaign of killing unarmed Palestinians taking part in the Great March of Return protests in the Gaza Strip.

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"First time in [Human Rights Watch] history Israel orders official out", he tweeted.

"Israel is trying to keep both its own citizens and the world from seeing what it is doing", it added.

"The reality is that it's a human rights issue", he says of the situation in Palestine.

In 2017, Israel's parliament, the Knesset, passed a law allowing authorities to ban entry into the Israel - and by extension all occupied Palestinian territory, as their borders fall under Israeli control - to foreigners deemed to be activists in support of BDS.

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