'The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by the local director of Human Rights Watch against a government decision to expel him for allegedly supporting the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
As a result, the court ruled, Omar Shakir must leave the country within 20 days.
A lower court in April upheld an Interior Ministry decision not to renew Omar Shakir’s work visa and ordered him to leave the country, saying his advocacy against Israel’s settlements in the West Bank amounts to support for the Palestinian-led boycott movement. Israeli law allows the barring of those who publicly support a boycott of Israel or its West Bank settlements.
“If it proceeds, I have 20 days to leave & it’ll join ranks of Iran, N Korea & Egypt in blocking access for @hrw official,” Shakir tweeted after the decision was announced, referring to Israel.
The justices cited in their ruling three examples of Twitter posts from Shakir’s personal account over the past two and a half years in which he appeared to urge boycotts of the settlements.
In a post from May 2017, Shakir wrote that he wanted to “press FIFA on [soccer] matches in illegal Israeli settlements.”
After the vacation lodging website Airbnb stopped brokering Israeli rentals in the West Bank, in November 2018 Shakir addressed another website, booking.com, telling it that “all eyes now on you-delisting only way to meet your human rights responsibilities under UN Guiding Principles.” Airbnb later restored the Israeli West Bank rental listings.
And in February 2019, after a Spanish company rejected a tender for a light rail project in Jerusalem because its route passed through the eastern part of the city, an area claimed by the Palestinians for their future state, Shakir wrote, “Other companies should follow it’s lead.”
The remarks “distinctly call for a boycott of entities operating in Israel and the West Bank,” the court said.'
Read more: Supreme Court upholds expulsion of Human Rights Watch local director
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