On 13 October 2016, the Director of the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem delivered a moving speech to the United Nations Security Council on the issue of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Director, Mr. Hagai El-Ad, eloquently addressed the overwhelming impact of Israeli occupation on Palestinian life. The speech also referred to the way in which Israel has misused the law to justify its injustice and the devastating role that the Israeli High Court has had in ensuring Israeli domination.
At a time when Israel is intensifying its attacks against Palestinian and Israeli human rights organisations, Mr. El-Ad courageously called Israel’s occupation “a legal guise for organised state violence”. He also referred to increasing clarity in Israeli official language about Israel’s intention to remain in the occupied West Bank.
Al-Haq welcomes B’Tselem strong speech to the Security Council and draws attention to their call for the end of the occupation. Al-Haq also underscores B’Tselem message that words that are not backed up with action from the international community equal approval for Israel to continue with its occupation.
The speech delivered was received angrily by Israeli officials across the board. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu immediately declared his intention to change the law on national service for the purpose of excluding B’Tselem from receiving volunteers. Furthermore, Likud lawmaker David Bitan stated that Mr. El-Ad should be stripped of his Israeli citizenship.
The attacks against B’Tselem illustrate Israel’s skewed view of human rights and organisations that are dedicated to uphold it. The attacks against B’Tselem are part of a wider campaign by Israel to undermine human rights organisations, through any means possible. Certainly, Israel’s backlash against B’Tselem speaks in and of itself to the nature of the State of Israel following soon fifty years of ongoing international crimes and oppression of the Palestinian people.
Al-Haq stands in solidarity with B’Tselem and congratulates it on its strong performance at the UN Security Council.
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