Bethlehem/PNN/ July 27, 2018 —
Over the past few days, Israel has denied entry and deported human rights defenders, researchers and an eyewitness delegation, citing their support for Palestinian rights.
One of the deported human rights defenders is Ana Sanchez, a Spanish citizen who is active in the BDS movement. On July 24, Israeli officials at Ben Gurion airport detained her for over 24 hours before banning her from entry and deporting her to Spain.
The Palestinian BNC, which leads and supports the global BDS movement for Palestinian rights, said:
Ana is being punished for her effective role in convincing elected officials, municipalities, local councils, businesses and community organizations across Spain to respect human rights and commit to doing no harm to Palestinians suffering from Israel’s racist policies.
She has been active in a campaign to create “Apartheid Free Zones” in which communities decide to abstain from cooperation and business with institutions and companies that sustain Israel’s gross violations of Palestinian rights.
Ana Sanchez said:”Israel has barred me and others from entry just days after it effectively adopted apartheid in its constitution”.
These deportations are yet another sign that Israel’s right-wing government is trying very hard to suppress freedom of expression and to silence the growing BDS movement, in defiance of international law, the European Human Rights Convention and basic democratic values.
Such repression is typical for apartheid regimes, but it is destined to fail.
All states, including Spain and the European Union, should respond in ways that hold Israel meaningfully accountable for its systematic human rights violations. In response to its entry bans, Spain and the European Union should at the very least deny entry to all Israeli settlers and all Israeli soldiers for being accomplices in Israel’s apartheid and war crimes.
The BDS movement’s response to Israel’s escalating repression and deportations will be to create more Apartheid Free Zones, in Spain and beyond.
Together we can and will end Israeli apartheid.
On July 25, Israel also denied entry to well-known South African model, actress and TV personality, Shashi Naidoo. As part of an eyewitness delegation led by the South African Council of Churches and South African Jews for a Free Palestine, Naidoo intended to see the realities of Israel’s policies for herself.
Last week, Israel barred two researchers for a Dutch NGO over alleged ties to the BDS movement.
In 2017, the Israeli parliament (Knesset) passed a repressive law that formally bars international human rights defenders who support Palestinian rights through BDS tactics from entering the country. It was used to bar Anuar Mailuf, the Executive Director of the Palestinian Federation of Chile and a Christian who was on a delegation to visit the Holy Land over Easter. Israel also refused entry to Hugh Lanning, a British national and the chairman of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
Israel’s use of this anti-democratic law has escalated this year.
Israel also blocks Jews who are critical of Israel like Rabbi Alisa Wise of Jewish Voices for Peace.
This repressive behavior is how Israel treats Palestinians who are subjected to similar but worse forms of restriction and denial of many other freedoms, similar to the way we South Africans once were treated by the Apartheid regime,” Kekana said.
She believed that Israel showed that it only allowed “praise-singers” into the country.
“This is a clear indication of Israel’s refusal to allow freedom of movement, expression and association.
This behavior by Israel infringes on our diplomatic relations and is a further indication of the need for South Africa to implement the ANC’s resolution for the immediate and unconditional downgrade of the SA Embassy as Israel.
There can be no doubt that Israel is a hostile state to South Africa,” she added.