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Israel declines postponing HRW deportation following BDS allegations

Omar Shakir will be deported from Israel next week [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 May, 2018

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Israel has rejected Human Rights Watch's request for its country director to remain in Israel until an appeal against his expulsion is heard.

An Israeli court on Thursday rejected Human Rights Watch's (HRW) request for its country director to remain in Israel until an appeal against his expulsion is heard, the affected official has said.

HRW's Israel and Palestine Director Omar Shakir, a US citizen, now has one week to leave Israel, he said.

"The judge rejected our request for an interim order that would allow me to stay in the country so the case could be heard," Shakir said, after the ruling by a district court.

"The judge gave me until 24 May to leave."

HRW intends to make an appeal to the supreme court, he said.

The interior ministry announced on 8 May it had terminated Shakir's residency permit over accusations he previously supported a boycott of Israel.

Shakir rejected the allegation and said Israel was seeking to silence dissent.

The organisation has filed an appeal against the decision and Shakir said he had thought he was likely to be granted an extension until the case was concluded.

Israeli officials have recently clamped down on groups seen as supporting the global campaign for BDS, which aims to pressure Tel Aviv to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories.

new law was introduced by Israel in March 2017, barring access to the country for individuals and groups who have previously expressed support of the BDS movement. 

This includes those who want to enter the Palestinian territories, as they must also pass through Israeli border controls.

Supporters of BDS - which stands for boycott, sanctions and divestment - say they are using non-violent means to promote the Palestinian independence efforts.

The movement has grown into a global network of thousands of volunteers, from campus activists to church groups as well as some Jews.

 

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