HRW's Israel and Palestine director Omar Shakir in Ramallah, May 2018. © 2018 AFP
Lawyers for Justice on Thursday leveled heavy criticism at an Israeli decision to deport activist Omar Shakir over his criticism of Israel’s oppressive policies against Palestinians.
The Ramallah-based Lawyers for Justice organization called on human rights defenders and activists to take urgent action in response to Israel’s upcoming deportation of Human Right Watch (HRW) director in Palestine/Israel, Omar Shakir.
Shakir is supposed to leave the country in two days. In early November, Israel’s High Court upheld an April court ruling in favor of his deportation following orders given by the Israeli Interior Minister to that end over Shakir’s alleged support for boycott of Israel activity.
“This is an integral part of the policy of deportation carried out by the Israeli occupation authorities against anyone who carries a humanitarian and moral message towards the reality which Palestinians are subjected to due to an ongoing occupation that has lasted for more than seventy years,” said Lawyers for Justice in a statement.
The NGO said Israel’s long-existing policy of whitewashing the occupation and giving the army unconditional consent to silence anti-occupation voices is a heavy burden on the shoulders of free people around the world.
Lawyers for Justice urged “all activists, human rights defenders and freedom advocates to continue to carry out their humanitarian mission and their human rights activities” against the occupation.
It further called for mobilizing support for Omar Shakir and all human rights defenders.
Earlier his month, Israeli top court has ordered the expulsion of Human Rights Watch’s country director, in a landmark case rights groups have called “a crushing blow to freedoms”.
The court argued that previous statements Shakir made as a student and his HRW activities on ‘Israel’s’ West Bank settlements amounted to support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.