Israel Denies Entry to Palestine for Amnesty International USA Employee
By: Michaela Schrum/ Arab America Contributing Writer
On October 31, 2017, Amnesty International released a report detailing that an Amnesty International employee, Raed Jarrar, had been denied entry into Palestine by Israeli officials at the border due to his work with Amnesty International, (a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize).
Amnesty International is a world-renowned human rights organization that was founded in 1961 by Peter Benson, a London-based labor lawyer. He was inspired to create this historic organization one day while riding on the London Underground and reading a newspaper. While reading, he came upon a story of two Portuguese youths who had been arrested for toasting to liberty. The organization has been a beacon of Human Rights ever since then. Today, Amnesty International self-proclaims to be an organization boasting 7 million participants who “take injustice personally”.
Amnesty International has been known to call out leaders and countries that participate in human rights violations, and Israel is no exception. Each year along with many other countries, Amnesty International issues a country report detailing issues and human rights offenses that have been detailed within that country. Last September, Amnesty International updated Israel’s report.
Amnesty, among other findings, detailed a report of the torture and mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners and children, unlawful killings, and forced removal of Palestinians from their homes.
Last month, the Israeli Financial Minister, Moshe Kahlon, discussed plans with the Israeli press to retaliate against Amnesty International because of their campaigns against Israel’s illegal settlements which include a call to governments to ban imports of Israeli settlement products.
Raed Jarrar was traveling with Alli McCracken, (a campaigner on North America at Amnesty International) to the West Bank to grieve the death of his father with his family when Israeli guards stopped them and refused them entry. The two had traveled to the West Bank on their organization’s business multiple times before without incident.
According to a special report on the incident, Jarrar was asked: “Why does Amnesty International have a problem [with] Israel?” The soldiers elaborated, pointing out the organization’s most recent call to world governments concerning boycotts of Israeli settlement products. Jarrar was also asked to give the names of employees that worked at Amnesty International’s locations in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
When his interrogation had ended, Jarrar was given a paper which showed that he was not allowed to enter, citing “Public Security” and “Public Order”. On November first after an international outcry, a spokesperson for Israel’s interior ministry confirmed that he was denied due to Amnesty International’s position with the Boycott movement.
According to Lebanon’s The Daily Star, Israel passed legislation in March of 2017 which banned entry to foreigners who support the boycott movement, citing anti-semitism. At an earlier date, 2011, Israeli legislatures made it illegal for Israeli citizens to participate and advocate for the boycott themselves.
But Amnesty International has taken this event and used it to show the world what is happening in Palestine at the hands of Israel. Now is the time, more than ever, to participate in these boycotts and become informed about the Palestinian fight for independence against the Israeli government. Amnesty International’s special report says that “The campaign asks states around the world to stop financially sustaining Israel’s abusive and unlawful settlement policy by preventing Israeli settlement goods from entering their markets and stopping companies in their countries operating in settlements. There is an international consensus that Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal and violate international law; they also fuel mass violations against Palestinians.”
For more information, Visit amnestyusa.org