Middle East

Israel targets rights defenders, UN Council hears

Euro-Med says staff harassed and smeared in Occupied Palestinian Territories by Israeli authorities

Peter Kenny   | 01.10.2020
Israel targets rights defenders, UN Council hears

GENEVA

The UN Human Rights Council heard Thursday that rights group in the Occupied Palestinian Territories face “Israeli violations” that the international community has not acted upon.

Michela Pugliese, a researcher at Euro-Med Monitor, an advocacy group that has spoken in the past, addressed the council in a general debate on the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory.

She noted in a statement that the monitor’s chairman Ramy Abdu, and some of its staff “are subjected to continuous Israeli harassment such as smear campaigns and restrictions on their work and movement".

“These restrictions are against the backdrop of the organization’s work in exposing Israeli violations, especially the blockade of the Gaza Strip and the devastating military attack in the summer of 2014,” said Pugliese.

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor expressed its deep concern over the escalation of Israeli violations against human rights organizations and defenders in the Occupied Palestinian Territories at the council.

It noted “the absence of any serious action from the international community to address such violations and to put an end to the policy of impunity".

The statement said that “the Israeli authorities keep preventing, under the pretext of undeclared ‘security concerns,’ Amnesty International’s officer Laith Abu Ziyad from accompanying his mother to East Jerusalem to attend to her chemotherapy sessions".

“These justifications are often used for mere revenge over his activities in documenting Israeli violations.”

Euro-Med noted that due to a law adopted by the authorities in 2017 that allows the deportation of foreigners supporting the boycott of Israel due to its inhumane treatment with Palestinians, the Israeli Supreme Court upheld in November 2019 the “arbitrary” deportation of Omar Shakir, the director of Human Rights Watch in the Palestinian territories.

Pugliese said that in 2016, Israel used the Defense (Emergency) Regulations of 1945, dating back to the British Mandate, to prohibit the work of a large number of civil and charitable associations, including that of the Euro-Med Monitor.

“Israel uses those regulations on a large scale to punish and deter whoever criticizes and documents its violations,” said Pugliese.

The affected organizations called on the international community to “confront the systematic Israeli policy of muzzling any voice that criticizes its practices and exposes its violations in the Palestinian territories and to support the work of these organizations".

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