Democrats ask Netanyahu not to deport HRW official

17 Democratic lawmakers write to Netanyahu, ask him to stop planned deportation of senior Human Rights Watch official Omar Shakir.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Flash 90

A group of 17 Democratic lawmakers wrote to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last week asking his government to stop the planned deportation of senior Human Rights Watch official Omar Shakir, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Last month, an Israeli court approved the Interior Ministry's decision to expel Shakir, a US citizen and director of the Human Rights Watch office for Israel and the Palestinian territories.

While the court gave Shakir until May 1 to leave Israel, the Supreme Court last week delayed the expulsion, issuing an injunction allowing Shakir to remain in Israel for seven days.

“To carry out our own human rights work and responsibilities in the US House of Representatives, we rely on the reports of Human Rights Watch for balanced accounts of human rights violations wherever they may occur, including here in the United States,” the letter by the Democrats read, according to The Washington Post.

The letter added that deporting Shakir would “reinforce the impression that Israel is increasingly hostile to human rights defenders.”

The letter was sent just days before the latest escalation in the south, when Gaza terrorists fired some 700 rockets at southern Israel.

In a phone call Monday, Rep Jim McGovern (D-MA), one of the authors of the letter, said that the letter was not related, but he viewed it as part of a broader issue.

“One of the world’s most reputable human rights organizations is having one of their workers expelled from a country because of his human rights work,” McGovern said, noting that Human Rights Watch recently published a critical report on Hamas and the Palestinian Authority’s use of torture.

Despite criticism of the planned deportation from other human rights groups and governments, senior officials in the Trump administration have refrained from publicly commenting on Shakir’s case, noted The Washington Post.

Shakir had his work permit revoked in 2018 because of an amendment to Israel’s immigration laws made the year before, that was aimed at fighting supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Human Rights Watch later sued Israel’s Interior Ministry to prevent Shakir from being deported.