After 'Palestinian propaganda' row, Israel okays visa for HRW official

Omar Shakir, a US citizen, received the work visa on arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport and he will take up his position as Human Rights Watch's regional director.

By REUTERS
April 26, 2017 13:25
1 minute read.
Omar Shakir human rights watch

Work permit granted by Israel to Human Rights Watch official Omar Shakir, April 26, 2017. (photo credit: TWITTER/OMAR SHAKIR)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Israel gave a one-year work visa to a Human Rights Watch researcher on Wednesday after initially denying him a permit and accusing the organization of engaging in "Palestinian propaganda," the group said.

The decision in February to deny Omar Shakir a work permit was criticized by the United States.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Shakir, a US citizen, received the visa on arrival at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion airport and he will take up his position as the New York-based group's "Israel and Palestine" director.

"We welcome this opportunity to work in Israel and Palestine alongside vigorous national human rights organizations," Iain Levine, executive deputy director for program at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement on the group's website.
Bill banning boycotters , anti-Israel activists from visiting Israel becomes a law after Knesset approval on March 6, 2017 (credit: REUTERS/KNESSET CHANNEL)

"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."

Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said in February that the decision to deny Shakir a work permit stemmed from HRW's work "at the service of Palestinian propaganda."

But he also said the application may be reconsidered if an appeal was lodged, and Shakir was allowed to enter Israel on a tourist visa on March 6 for a 10-day stay. Final approval for a one-year permit was given on April 20, HRW said.

The US State Department said after Shakir was banned that it strongly disagreed with Israel's characterization of the group, which it considers a credible human rights organization.

In its statement, HRW said it has had regular access to Israel and the West Bank for nearly three decades, with staff and offices in Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Gaza for much of this period. It said that since 2008, Israel has refused it access to Gaza, which is run by Hamas Islamists, except for one visit in 2016.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures as he speaks in Ramallah
September 18, 2018
PA to pay family of Fuld’s murderer NIS 1,400 a month for 3 years

By GIL HOFFMAN