Apartheid Measure: «Israel» Denies HRW Staff Visas

Local Editor

The apartheid “Israeli” regime denied the new director of a prominent NGO – Human Rights Watch [HRW] – from a work permit, accusing the group of an “extreme, hostile and anti-‘Israel’ agenda.”

Human Rights Watch Israel and Palestine director Omar Shakir

The “Israeli” accusations against the organization, which documents human rights abuses around the globe, follows a growth in official hostility to local human rights activists under the right wing government of “Israeli” PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

For its part, HRW condemned the move as “ominous turn” adding it “should worry anyone concerned about ‘Israel’s’ commitment to basic democratic values.”

The new policy emerged after the “Israeli” regime’s authorities turned down a visa for its new “Israel” and Palestine director, Omar Shakir who is a US citizen. The rejection had been advised by the entity’s so-called Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In a letter rejecting Shakir’s visa application, the “Israeli” entity accused the New York based group of “public activities and reports [and being] engaged in politics in the service of Palestinian propaganda, while falsely raising the banner of ‘human rights.”

The group denied the claim pointing out it had written critical reports on human rights violations on both sides.

The denial of the visa was confirmed in a letter on February 20 when “Israeli” authorities informed it the request had been rejected because HRW is “not a real human rights group”, the group said in a statement. The entity’s so-called foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon confirmed the decision.

HRW, he said, had “demonstrated time and again it is a fundamentally biased and anti-‘Israeli’ organization with a clear hostile agenda.”

But Nahshon added that the group was not banned and its Israeli and Palestinian employees would still be permitted to work in Israel and issue reports.

Suggesting a wider policy, Nahshon said other organisations such as Amnesty International would be assessed on a case by case basis.

The right-wing “Israeli” regime has been accused of putting pressure on both international and local rights organizations.

For his part, Iain Levine, deputy executive director of program at HRW condemned the move, saying: “This decision and the spurious rationale should worry anyone concerned about ‘Israel’s’ commitment to basic democratic values.”

He went on to say: “It is disappointing that the ‘Israeli’ government seems unable or unwilling to distinguish between justified criticisms of its actions and hostile political propaganda.”

The latest moves come in the midst of a wider chilling of the atmosphere in the “Israeli” entity against human rights activists.

Commenting on the decision to deny his visa Omar Shakir compared the entity to a list of authoritarian regimes.

“We have little relations with governments in North Korea, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Cuba and Venezuela where there is zero appetite for human rights engagement,” Shakir said. “With this decision, ‘Israel’ is joining the list.”

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team 

24-02-2017 | 12:17

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