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Israel releases prominent Palestinian BDS activist

The BDS movement calls for a wide-ranging embargo of Israel (Getty)

Date of publication: 17 August, 2020

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Israel on Monday released a West Bank leader of the global campaign to boycott the Jewish state, following his arrest last month by Israel's internal security agency.

Israel on Monday released a West Bank leader of the global campaign to boycott the Jewish state, following his arrest last month by Israel's internal security agency.

Mahmoud Nawajaa, coordinator of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in the occupied Palestinian territories, was arrested at his home in Ramallah on July 30.

Several rights groups, including Amnesty International, had campaigned for his release, including through rallies in Ramallah and Gaza this month.

"Nawajaa was released by an Israeli military court, after 19 days of illegal detention without charges," the BDS movement said in a statement.

Israeli military tribunals exercise jurisdiction over Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

"Since his arrest on July 30, the Israeli internal security (agency) Shin Bet has failed to present any formal charges against him," the BDS statement added.

A Shin Bet spokesperson told AFP that Nawajaa had been "arrested and questioned on security matters... and released at the end of the investigation".

The BDS movement calls for a wide-ranging embargo of Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians.

Israel sees BDS as a strategic threat and accuses it of anti-Semitism.

Activists strongly deny the charge, comparing the embargo to the economic isolation that helped bring down apartheid in South Africa.

A law passed in 2017 allows Israel to ban foreigners with links to BDS.

Last year, Israel expelled the country director of Human Rights Watch, Omar Shakir, after accusing him of supporting BDS, a claim he denied.

Israeli sources had previously told AFP that Nawajaa's arrest was not linked to his role with the BDS movement.

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