French Minister refuses to grant award to Palestinian NGO with terror ties

Hotovely laments that Al-Haq and B’Tselem still expected to receive French human rights prize

December 9, 2018 21:06
2 minute read.
French President Emmanuel Macron, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, Justice Minister Nicole Belloube

French President Emmanuel Macron, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet in cabinet meeting, 2018.. (photo credit: MICHEL EULER / REUTERS)


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French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet will not present Al-Haq, a Palestinian group with ties to a terrorist organization, and Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem with the Human Rights Awards of the French Republic, but they will still receive the prize, the French Jewish umbrella group CRIF said on Sunday.

CRIF President Francis Kalifat wrote to Belloubet that these are “two organizations known to call for the boycott of Israel… which is banned by our criminal code,” and for the Justice Ministry to give them this award, “even in the absence of the minister, is insulting justice.

“The position is incomprehensible to us,” Kalifat wrote. “I ask you… not to support the action of those who act in contradiction with our laws.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely also spoke out against the award, calling the choice of Al-Haq and B’Tselem “deplorable” and asking the French government to rethink it.

“B’Tselem is an organization that has repeated biased reports on unreliable sources in order to harm Israel, and Al-Haq is an organization engaged in BDS against Israel and whose members have documented connections to terror organizations, including the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine,” Hotovely wrote.

In addition, Hotovely said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed opposition to French support for these organizations in a meeting with French President Emanuel Macron.

Al-Haq says it documents “violations of the individual and collective rights of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” and brings that documentation before international bodies to hold Israel accountable. The organization’s general director Shawan Jabarin is known to have ties to the PFLP, which the Supreme Court found credible as recently as 2009. Al-Haq is also a leading Palestinian organization in the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

B’Tselem calls itself “the Israeli information center for human rights in the occupied territories,” and its goal is “to end Israel’s occupation” by documenting what it says are Israeli violations of Palestinians’ human rights.

French lawmaker Meyer Habib, who represents expats living around the Mediterranean, including Israel, said Belloubet should resign if she presents the award to the NGOs.

“At a time when France is dealing with some of the worst and most difficult riots it has ever seen, the Award of the Republic is given to organizations that are connected to terrorist organizations and boycott of Israel,” Habib said. “There is a law in France that clearly forbids all kinds of boycotts… I am a member of the French parliament and it is unacceptable that the Justice Minister would give a prize to people who want to break the law.”

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