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'Punishment for activism': Israel prevents BDS co-founder from travelling to Jordan to see cancer-stricken mother Open in fullscreen

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'Punishment for activism': Israel prevents BDS co-founder from travelling to Jordan to see cancer-stricken mother

Omar Barghouti has been prevented from accompanying his mother to Jordan for cancer surgery [AFP]

Date of publication: 5 January, 2018

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Israel stopped the co-founder of the BDS movement Omar Barghouti from accompanying his critically ill mother to Jordan for cancer surgery and treatment.
Israel prevented the co-founder of the BDS movement Omar Barghouti from accompanying his critically ill mother to Jordan for cancer surgery, he revealed on Thursday.

Authorities in Israel had placed a temporarily travel ban on Barghouti, which was lifted by a court order for the period needed to travel to Amman to be with his mother during her upcoming surgery. 

However, Israel's ministry of interior failed to renew Barghouti's travel documents, stopping him from being able to leave the country.

"For months now, every time I needed to travel to Amman to be with my mother during a chemotherapy session, I had to obtain a court order to temporarily suspend the travel ban imposed on me by Israeli authorities," Barghouti wrote.

"[I] first applied to the ministry for the travel document renewal on 17 December and [have] followed up with three urgent letters […including] a letter written by my mother's oncologist indicating dates of the surgery and follow-up therapy."

He claimed not to have received a response and as a result of the delay, he will not be able to accompany his 75-year-old mother to Jordan for her cancer operation.

Imposing a travel ban on me, threatening me with 'civil assassination' and repeatedly trying to tarnish my reputation all pale in comparison with the war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by Israel's regime 

Barghouti, who is also a founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), believes the delay is a "form of punishment" on him for his activism.

"Imposing a travel ban on me, threatening me with 'civil assassination', and desperately​ - and repeatedly -​ trying to tarnish my reputation all pale in comparison with the war crimes and crimes against humanity (including apartheid) perpetrated by Israel's regime of oppression against millions of Palestinians."

The BDS - Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions - movement was founded in 2005 with aim of ending Israel's occupation of the West Bank. 

The movement was initially dismissed by Israeli politicians who found that it will have little impact on the country's economy. 

By June 2015, the movement has proved to pose a strategic threat to the Israeli economy, according to analysis by Rand Corporation.

The campaign has been supported by Pink Floyd musician Roger Waters, Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and American novelist Alice Walker.

Last week, BDS activists succeeded in getting New Zealand singer Lorde to cancel a planned show in Israel.

In March, Israel passed legislation banning the entry of foreigners who support the boycotting of the country and its settlements, which are illegal under international law.

Israel accuses boycott movement of anti-Semitism - a claim activists deny, saying they only want to see an end to Israel's occupation.

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