Al-Haq Director Defies Israeli Interrogation Order amid Israel’s Crackdown on Rights Groups

Al-Haq director Shawan Jabarin hands evidence of Israeli crimes in Gaza to ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in November 2015. (Photo: via Al-Haq)

Palestinian rights campaigner Shawan Jabari said that Israel tried to summon him for questioning on Sunday, as it pressed ahead with a crackdown on Palestinian rights groups based in the occupied West Bank, The New Arah reported.

European and US diplomats have pushed back against the claim by Israeli officials that the targeted groups are linked with terrorism.

The apparent Israeli order for Jabarin to report to a military prison followed a widely criticized raid last week on six Palestinian civil society organizations in the West Bank.

Nine European countries, using uncharacteristically blunt language, called the raid “not acceptable”, while the US expressed concern.

Jabarin, who is director of one of the targeted groups, Al-Haq, said on Sunday that he received a five-minute “threatening call” from Israel’s Shin Bet security service ordering him to go to the Ofer military prison in the West Bank. He said an officer threatened arrest, interrogation and “other things” if he did not comply.

“I will not change my mind, but if he wants to arrest me then he can surely do it as an occupying power,” Jabarin said.

He said he invited the officer to the Al-Haq office and that he demanded the summons to be sent officially through lawyers, not over the phone.

The Shin Bet did not respond to a request for comment.

Israel last year outlawed six rights groups, including Al-Haq, claiming they have ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The rights groups deny the Israeli allegations. Jabarin called the claims of PFLP ties “utter nonsense and complete lies”. Nine European countries have also rejected the Israeli charges, citing a lack of evidence.

Despite the criticism, Israeli soldiers last Thursday entered the West Bank city of Ramallah in an armored convoy and blew up the front doors of the Palestinian groups’ offices.

Israeli soldiers seized documents, and computers, and broke furniture and appliances before sealing the entrances.

(The New Arab, PC, SOCIAL)

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