Court delays Israel's deportation of Human Rights Watch official

Supreme Court delays deportation of Human Rights Watch official who called for boycott of Jewish businesses in Judea and Samaria.


Gavel (illustration)
Gavel (illustration)

Israel's top court has delayed the expulsion of Human Rights Watch's country director following a petition challenging the move, his lawyer said Thursday.

The Jerusalem district court last month rejected an earlier petition against the decision to expel Omar Shakir, a US citizen, ruling he had until May 1 to leave.

But just a day ahead of the deadline the Supreme Court issued an injunction allowing Shakir to remain in Israel for seven days, attorney Michael Sfard said.

During this period the interior ministry can submit its response to the appeal which Shakir lodged at the Supreme Court.

After the May 7 deadline the court "could theoretically issue a new decision" on the case, Sfard told AFP.

The interior ministry's decision to deny Shakir his work and residency permits was due to his alleged support of a boycott against Israel -- a claim accepted by the district court.

HRW denied the group or Shakir promoted a boycott of Israel, calling the April district court ruling a "new and dangerous interpretation of the law," since it equated criticism of Jewish businesses operating in Judea and Samaria to boycotting Israel.

In 2017, Israel passed a law banning entry to foreigners who support boycotting the country.

The law was passed in response to a movement to boycott Israel, known as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement.