Turkey, World, Middle East

'Israeli attack on Anadolu Agency office was criminal'

Attacks on journalists aim to prevent reporting on Israel’s policies of occupation, says human rights advocate

Burak Bir   | 10.07.2019
'Israeli attack on Anadolu Agency office was criminal'

ANKARA

Israel's attack on Anadolu Agency’s office in the Gaza Strip this May is but one of its many criminal attacks on the media, according to a Palestinian human rights advocate.

"Israel’s attack on the office of Anadolu Agency in Gaza was a serious violation of international law. It is one of Israel’s many criminal attacks on journalists which aim to prevent documentation and reporting on Israel’s systematic policies of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid against the Palestinian people," said Hind Awwad, who is associated with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

In an interview marking the movement’s 14th anniversary, Awwad said it has always called for an extensive military embargo against Israel because of its denial of Palestinians’ rights and attacks especially on journalists in Gaza.

"We appeal to Turkey to take the lead in ending all military trade with Israel," she said.

On May 4, Israeli warplanes struck the building in Gaza where Anadolu Agency’s office was located with at least five rockets following warning shots. No injuries or deaths were reported, but the building was destroyed.

 ‘Betrayal of international law’

Speaking about the German parliament's decision in May to label the BDS movement “anti-Semitic”, Awwad stressed that the movement rejects all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism.

"The BDS movement condemns this anti-Palestinian, McCarthyite and unconstitutional resolution passed by the German parliament. It is a betrayal of international law, German democracy and the fight against real anti-Jewish racism."

She said through this decision, Germany is trying to protect Israel from being held accountable for its violations of international law.

"BDS targets complicity, not identity. The academic and cultural boycott of Israel is strictly institutional and does not target individual Israelis," Awwad stressed.

She called on the German people to defend human rights and freedom of expression by defending the right to boycott, divest and sanction.

"The BDS movement is anchored in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and rejects all forms of racism," she added.

On May 17, the Bundestag adopted a resolution equating the movement with “anti-Semitism”. The resolution also calls for cutting the funding of organizations that “actively support” the movement.


Barghouti case

Touching on the U.S. government’s decision in April to deny entry to Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement, she conveyed his comments at the time that the ban was politically motivated and part of Israel’s increasing repression of Palestinians.

"We shall intensify our common fight against fascism and racism in all its forms through our morally consistent struggle for justice, for dignity and for a life that is worth living, as our late poet Mahmoud Darwish once said,” she said, quoting Barghouti.

Additionally, she referred to his comment on Israel's actions.

"It is increasingly outsourcing its outrageous McCarthyite repression to the U.S. and to xenophobic, far-right cohorts across the world" alongside its occupation methods.

On the struggle for Palestinian freedom, she stressed that justice and equality which calls for breaking off all sorts of connivance with the crimes of Israel are "the most effective" forms of solidarity with Palestine.

"Since its launch, BDS is having a major impact and is effectively challenging international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism," she said.

She added that BDS is sending a message explicitly to Palestinians and governments around the world that the number of people who refuse to accept Israel's abuse of Palestinians’ rights is increasing.


BDS goals

BDS was established in 2005 by 170 Palestinian civil-society and human rights groups.

It calls for the boycott of Israeli firms complicit in the violation of Palestinian rights. It also calls on institutions, public and private, to divest from these firms as a means of exerting pressure on Israel.

It further calls for sanction campaigns as a means of pressuring governments to fulfill their legal obligations to hold Israel to account for its crimes against Palestinians.

According to its website, BDS aims to end international support for Israel and pressure the self-proclaimed Jewish state to comply with international law.

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