DAWN Calls on US to Impose Ban on Israeli Officials

Israeli spyware Pegasus has been used to spy on journalists, activists. (Photo: via Wikimedia Commons)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

The not-for-profit organization Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) has called on the United States to impose the ‘Khashoggi Ban’ on Israeli officials who were involved in the surveillance of Palestinian activists, according to a statement released on Monday.

DAWN, an organization founded by the late Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi – assassinated at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 –  is referring to the sanctions and visa restrictions announced by the US State Department last February and named after the prominent journalist and political dissident.

“Breaking news from the Associated Press indicates that the Israeli government apparently designated six Palestinian civil society groups as ‘terrorist organizations’ in an attempt to cover up and justify Israel’s use of the banned NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware to surveil members of the six groups,” the statement reads.

On Monday, a report disclosed by the Irish-based non-profit Frontline Defenders revealed that the phones of six Palestinian human rights activists and officials were hacked using spyware from the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group.

Pegasus spyware is notorious for being used against journalists, rights activists and political dissidents from Mexico to Saudi Arabia since 2015.

On November 3, the United States Commerce Department decided to add Israel’s NSO Group and Candiru to its trade blacklist. 

In its statement, DAWN called “on the US government to investigate and impose the Khashoggi Ban on all officials implicated in the hacking scandal,” adding that “the sophisticated spyware of the two Israeli companies, the NSO Group and Candiru, represents a powerful new tool that will enable (..)  autocratic regimes to intensify their attacks on political activists and dissidents”.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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