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Israel gives HRW director two weeks to leave country

Israel gives HRW director two weeks to leave country

In April, a French mayor was denied entry to the West Bank by Israeli authorities because of his support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Israel had initially denied Shakir a work permit past year, in a move criticized by the US.

"This is not about Shakir, but rather about muzzling Human Rights Watch and shutting down criticism of Israel's rights record", said Iain Levine, deputy executive director for program at Human Rights Watch.

Israeli authorities have revoked the work permit of global NGO Human Rights Watch's (HRW) Israel and Palestine director, giving him two weeks to leave the country, the organisation said on Tuesday.

Aryeh Deri, the Israeli interior minister, alleged Shakir is a "boycott activist" and said he "will act to expel people like this" with all means at his disposal. "Compiling dossiers on and deporting human rights defenders is a page out of the Russian or Egyptian security services' playbook".

A new law was introduced by Israel in March 2017, barring access to the country for individuals and groups who have previously expressed support of the BDS movement.

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HRW say they will challenge the decision in Israeli court.

"Even when they present a false pose of "human rights activists" we will show the hypocrisy and the moral distortion of their actions and make them pay a price for work against Israel", said Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan, who recommended revoking Shakir's citizenship, said.

In Human Rights Watch, in turn, stressed that the solution to Israel's interior Ministry only confirmed that this country is trying to stifle criticism about the situation with observance of human rights.

Israel is deporting the Human Rights Watch (HRW) regional director, known as an anti-Israel activist, who was denied entry to the country earlier past year, but was granted a work visa after that battle.

"Neither closing the borders to human rights groups and activists nor other Israeli measures against organizations critical of the occupation will deter us, or them, from reporting human rights violations in areas under Israeli control", it said.

According to HRW, this is the first time since the organisation "began monitoring Israel and the Occupied Territories 30 years ago that Israel has ordered one of its staff out of the country".