Ben Gurion Airport
Ben Gurion Airport Flash 90

A Human Rights Watch (HRW) director told AFP on Wednesday he had received permission to work in Israel, months after the Jewish state barred his entry due to the group's anti-Israel bias.

Omar Shakir, HRW's Israel and Palestine director, said he had received a work visa after arriving at Israel's Ben Gurion airport.

"Israeli authorities do not always agree with our findings, but, in facilitating the ability of our staff to carry out our research and documentation, they have taken an important step to safeguard the principle of transparency and demonstrate their openness to criticism," he told AFP.

Israel in February rejected Shakir's request, saying HRW had "demonstrated time and again it is a fundamentally biased and anti-Israeli organization with a clear hostile agenda".

Later, however, the Foreign Ministry said Shakir could appeal the decision not to grant him a visa.

The New York-based watchdog has written several critical reports about Israel.

Last year HRW published a report, "Occupation Inc", asserting that international and Israeli companies operating in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria were contributing to rights abuses.

"Settlement businesses unavoidably contribute to Israeli policies that dispossess and harshly discriminate against Palestinians, while profiting from Israel's theft of Palestinian land and other resources," HRW's Arvind Ganesan said at the time, ignoring the fact that Israel provides thousands of Palestinian Arabs with employment at much higher pay than the Palestinian Authority average.

AFP contributed to this report.