Ubai Aboudi, executive director of the Bison Center for Research and Development, was detained by Israeli forces while attempting to enter Jordan. Aboudi was on his way to Mexico to attend the World Social Forum.
In October 2021 the Israeli government designated the Bisan Center and five other Palestinian human rights groups as terrorist organizations. Israel has yet to provide any evidence for these claims, but they did supply the White House with alleged evidence at the time. Six months later, the Biden team still hasn’t commented on the content of that information. Earlier this week, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the administration was still reviewing it.
Aboudi documented his experience in a Twitter thread:
Apartheid Israel refused to let me out to attend the World Social Forum in Mexico today. I had to participate in a panel about Resistance in the Void: Covert Evidence, Spyware, and Terrorist Designations. The fight for a global civil society begins in Palestine.
Although it has been exactly one month since my last visit (29 March 2022), I was given no reason for refusal, my repeated requests to give a reason or speak to a senior officer were denied .
I had booked tickets to Mexico and the United States to attend events and speaking tours to highlight human rights violations and to coordinate with other human rights defenders and activists and to challenge the status quo.
As a Palestinian you have no rights in your eyes #apartheid israel, Even if you have US citizenship. Of course my test is much lighter than that of Umar Asad. [the 80-year-old Palestinian-American who eyewitnesses say was blindfolded, gagged, handcuffed, and left to die at a checkpoint]
All these would not be human rights violations if it were not for the collusion of governments and officials who are refusing to hold #apartheid israel accountable for his crimes. This denial will not scare me, we will continue the work.
Human rights lawyer Katherine Gallagher tweeted at Secretary of State Tony Blinken. “A US citizen has been denied the right to travel and freedom of movement by Israel. What steps are you taking to protect the rights of Ubai Aboudi, who has been targeted as a Palestinian-American human rights defender? #standwith6,
This is not the first time Aboudi has targeted himself over his group’s human rights work. Last year it was revealed that he was one of six people working for Palestinian NGOs whose phones were hacked with Pegasus, spyware developed by Israeli technology firm NSO Group. Israel’s terror designations were announced shortly after news of the hack was reported by the group Frontline Defenders. The Biden administration imposed sanctions on NSOs, but the Israeli government is lobbying to remove them.
“We know what repression looks like. Discrediting human rights defenders and spreading propaganda to make their work illegal,” tweeted Ahmad Abujnaid, executive director of the Palestinian Rights at the time, the US Campaign for “Exposing the Truth.” Monitoring activists and journalists who dare to. Human rights abuses continue daily at all times. The Israeli regime is a separate and unequal apartheid state that employs every last authoritarian tactic at its disposal, but we know the truth: liberation is coming. and Palestine will be free.
On May 22, Israel will begin imposing tougher rules on foreigners entering the West Bank, a move that is seen as a way for the country to further control Palestinians. Palestinians holding foreign passports will be required to provide to Israel the names and national ID numbers of relatives and friends with whom they plan to live. “It’s a surveillance exercise,” told Al Shabqa policy analyst Marwa Fatafta al Jazeera. “With the new policy, the Israeli authorities want to map the social circle and wealth of Palestinians living abroad with foreign passports. The entire identification system is designed to control the two most important aspects of Palestine: the people and the land. Now, in a way, this will also apply to Palestinians who belong to the West Bank.”
Asked about the new rules at a State Department briefing this week, Ned Price said he was “not immediately familiar with them.”
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