Israel denies visa to HRW researcher News
Israel denies visa to HRW researcher

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said Friday that the Israeli government denied [press release] a work permit to researcher Omar Shakir, citing anti-Israel bias from the organization. According to a translation of the letter sent from Israel’s Interior Ministry, the letter said [HRW translation, PDF] “The opinion received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that, for some time now, this organization’s public activities and reports have engaged in politics in the service of Palestinian propaganda, while falsely raising the banner of ‘human rights’, and therefore recommended denying the application.” HRW may appeal the decision within 45 days. HRW stated:

The characterization of Human Rights Watch promoting Palestinian propaganda does not square with the research and advocacy that the organization conducts to challenge violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by all actors in the region, including the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas government in Gaza.

However, Emmanuel Nahshon, a spokesperson for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs [official website] disagreed [NYT report], saying “Human Rights Watch is systematically biased against Israel. … They are in fact in the service of Palestinian propaganda rather than being in the service of the truth and human rights.”

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been at the forefront of recent international news and reports. On Tuesday an Israeli court sentenced [JURIST report] an Israeli soldier who executed a Palestinian. On Monday Amnesty International urged [JURIST report] the Israeli Supreme Court to repeal a 2003 law that bans many Palestinians from entering the country, including those who are seeking reunification with their families. Last month Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he will be lifting restrictions [JURIST report] on Israelis building settlements in East Jerusalem. Also last month US President Donald Trump was warned [JURIST report] by Palestinian leaders not to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. In December a spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned remarks [JURIST report] made by then-US Secretary of State John Kerry on the current Israeli government. In a speech given in December Kerry criticized the building of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, stating that such actions jeopardize prospects of peace in the Middle East. Netanyahu in December summoned [JURIST report] the ambassadors of the 14 UN Security Council members who supported a resolution condemning Israel’s settlement in Palestine to rebuke them for the vote. Following the passage of this resolution, Netanyahu also ordered the country’s foreign ministers to reevaluate Israel’s ties to the UN within the month.