Israel’s Supreme Court has delayed a landmark hearing which would have seen the Regional Director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), Omar Shakir, deported from Israel over his alleged support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Shakir’s ordeal has been ongoing since May 2018, when Israel’s Interior Minister Aryeh Deri issued an order to cancel Shakir’s work permit and deport him on the pretext of “his activity against Israel”.
Supreme Court delayed hearing today on my deportation order over my rights advocacy, so our @hrw team spent day w @BtSIsrael bearing witness to separate/unequal reality for 200K Palestinians in Hebron (eg roads they cant walk on, 100+ checkpoints) living amid 800 Israeli settlers pic.twitter.com/NDKoRVmTcr
— Omar Shakir (@OmarSShakir) July 25, 2019
Under an Israeli law passed in 2017, any foreigner who “knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel” can be prevented from entering the country or obtaining a residency or work visa.
In April this year, the Jerusalem District Court upheld Deri’s deportation order. Shakir has since appealed the decision, prompting it to be passed up to the Supreme Court. Last month, the Supreme Court postponed his deportation while appeal proceedings continued, noting that his case should be heard in the current court year, which is due to end this month. Three Supreme Court Justices were therefore slated to give the final verdict on Shakir’s fate today.
Make no mistake: Supreme Court delayed my deportation hearing as outrage locally/globally mounted, including this newspaper ad by 20 Israeli NGOs: "Israel doesnt want its citizens nor the world to see how it operates & what it does, but the occupation cannot & will not be hidden" https://t.co/1tyfCqGCn5
— Omar Shakir (@OmarSShakir) July 24, 2019
The court’s decision to postpone the hearing has been seen as highly unusual, particularly given the fact that it was previously expedited under pressure from right-wing NGOs. The original court date was set for November, but infamous legal advocacy group Shurat HaDin and the right-wing NGO Monitor demanded the hearing be moved up to secure Shakir’s deportation.
Israel is attempting to deport Jerusalem-based Human Rights Watch director Omar Shakir. Why? Because they claim he supports boycotts leveled against Israel over its growing list oof human rights abuses. https://t.co/lLOVUDMCAT pic.twitter.com/m7F69jkeSM
— The IMEU (@theIMEU) July 24, 2019
The fresh delay is thought to be the result of increased media attention surrounding the case, after HRW’s Executive Director Kenneth Roth this week accused Israel of mounting a campaign “not only to shut down human rights activity, including by our Israeli partners, but also to deprive Israelis of information about what is happening around them”.
The delay is also thought to be motivated by a desire to avoid negative press coverage during Israel’s election season.
(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)