The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates strongly condemns Israel’s continued intimidation of human rights and civil society organizations throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (OPT). In particular, the ministry condemns the deportation of the Director of Human Rights Watch, Mr. Omar Shakir, and this Monday, which was endorsed by the so-called Supreme Court in Israel.
Human Rights Watch is an internationally revered human rights organization and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace. The decision to deport its director is a clear attempt by Israel, the illegal occupant, to silence legitimate peaceful dissent to its illegal occupation, to smear human rights defenders and to shrink civil society space in which respected human rights workers challenge its illegal policies and practices.
The Ministry reminds that, since its illegal occupation in 1967, Israel, the illegal occupant, has employed a myriad of discriminatory and punitive tactics against Palestinian civil society in an effort to stifle and silence them. Over the past five years, the so-called Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs has also intensified its cynical smear campaigns against Palestinian and International civil society, including using vicious incitement, in violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law.
The Ministry affirms that human rights organizations play a major role in paving the road for justice, respect for human rights and the rule of law in the Occupied Territory of the State of Palestine and worldwide. It is a duty of all States to support human rights organizations in line with their international responsibilities.
In this regard, the State of Palestine calls on the international community to reject and condemn the deportation of Mr. Shakir as well as the Israeli-led campaign of incitement, false accusations, and intimidation against human rights organizations and human rights defenders.
The Ministry also encourages the international community to support, protect and empower these valuable organizations as part of their continued efforts to support peace and advance the universal values of human rights.