Israel Denies Work Permit to Human Rights Watch

Tel Aviv: Human Rights Watch reported that Israeli authorities denied its application for a work permit submitted by the organization’s Israel and Palestine director on the grounds that it is not a real human rights group, reports Rough&Polished.

In his reply to the application, Moshe Nakash, Permit Division Director at Israel’s Administration Service for Employers and Foreign Workers cited the opinion received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which noted that, for some time now, this organization’s public activities and reports have engaged in politics in the service of Palestinian propaganda, while falsely raising the banner of “human rights”, and therefore recommended denying the application.

Emmanuel Nahshon, Israeli foreign ministry spokesman confirmed the decision, according to the Guardian. “Suggesting a wider policy, Nahshon said other organisations such as Amnesty International would be assessed on a case by case basis,” the daily said.

According to Human Rights Watch, the denial comes as the authorities seek to limit the space for local and international human rights groups to operate in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories increasing pressure on human rights defenders operating there.

“The decision marks an ominous turn after nearly three decades during which Human Rights Watch staff have had regular access without impediments to Israel and the West Bank,” the organisation said. “Israel, though, has refused Human Rights Watch access to Gaza since 2010, except for one visit in 2016.”

The latest moves come in the midst of a wider chilling of the atmosphere in Israel against human rights activists, the Guardian said. The daily mentioned that last year, the Israeli parliament passed a controversial law compelling Israeli NGOs that receive most of their funding from foreign state entities to declare it in official reports and added that the law was applicable to some 25 NGOs.