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Human Rights Watch's Israel director Omar Shakir
Image: Getty Images/AFP/A. Momani

Israel court backs expulsion of rights activist

November 5, 2019

The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled against an appeal to reverse a deportation order targeting a prominent human rights activist. Omar Shakir, who heads HRW's office in Israel, said: "We won't be the last."


Israel's Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by Human Rights Watch (HRW) country director Omar Shakir to block his deportation.

In April, an Israeli court ordered Shakir deported for what it argued was support for a country boycott.

Authorities have accused Shakir, a US citizen, of supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel's military occupation of the West Bank and its building of illegal settlements on Palestinian land.

Israel has formally banned entry to BDS supporters. It has also pressured Western countries to curb the movement's influence. The Bundestag, Germany's lower house, dubbed the movement "anti-Semitic" earlier this year.

Read more: HRW's Shakir: Democratic values deteriorating in Israel

'Blocking access'

But Shakir has denied the allegations.

"Decision now shifts back to Israel government," Shakir said in a tweet. "If it proceeds, I have 20 days to leave [and] it'll join [the] ranks of Iran, N Korea and Egypt in blocking access for [an HRW] official."

Shakir argues that he never advocated a boycott of Israel. Instead, he believes he is being targeted for HRW's advocacy activities and criticism of Israeli practices in the occupied West Bank.

The court gave him 20 days to leave the country of his own accord or face deportation.

ls/rt (AP, Reuters)

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