HRW slams Israel’s 'dangerous' plans to deport BDS co-founder
Israeli Interior Minister Arye Deri said he intends to “act quickly to revoke Barghouti’s permanent resident status”, calling him “a man who is doing everything to harm the state, and therefore shouldn’t enjoy the right of being a resident of Israel.”
The Israeli government has for years waged a campaign to curtail Barghouti’s activism, since the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement has gained worldwide momentum in its attempt to raise awareness of Israel’s human rights abuses against Palestinians.
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Born to a Palestinian family in Qatar, Barghouti has lived in Israel for 26 years, residing in Acre, a mixed Arab-Jewish city in northern Israel.
Palestinians make up roughly one fifth of the population of the State of Israel.
The BDS committee, comprised of over 170 Palestinian civil society organisations, unions, and cultural and rights groups - including all major political parties, trade and academic unions - issued its official call for boycott in 2005.
Through targeted strategies, the movement aims to pressure Israel to comply with international law to achieve three aims: ending the occupation of Palestinian territories, granting full equality to Palestinian citizens of Israel, and ensuring the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.
The Israeli government passed a law in 2017 which bans entry to anyone who has shown support for BDS.
In 2018, the government applied the law for the first time to someone legally residing inside Israel, attempting to deport Human Rights Watch’s Israel and Palestine Director Omar Shakir.
Shakir has called the legislation part of a “targeted campaign against rights defenders”, and denies his support for the movement.
Speaking to The New Arab regarding Barghouti’s case, Shakir said: “Deporting a Palestinian permanent resident who has lived here for 26 years and separating him from his family over his peaceful advocacy would mark a dangerous escalation.”
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“Israel will continue to push the boundaries in its escalating assault on those who challenge its policies towards Palestinians so long as the international outcry remains muted,” he added.
Ayman Odeh, the leader of the Joint List alliance of Palestinian parties in the Israeli government, said “revoking residency or citizenship is an anti-democratic act.
"Today it’s Barghouti and tomorrow it could be anyone who doesn’t agree with the Israeli government, with the occupation policy and with Jewish supremacist laws. We will use all legal means we have to protect our rights," he said.
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