UK police arrest Pro-BDS Palestinian activist on terrorism charge

The paper said that Hijjawi was arrested at Heathrow airport and the 62-year-old's house in the Blackhall area of Edinburgh was searched by Scottish police.

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, also known as BDS. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, also known as BDS.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
British authorities arrested the former chairman of the Association of Palestinian Communities in Scotland  Dr. Issam Hijjawi on Saturday for allegedly committing preparatory acts of terrorism in connection with the New Irish Republican Army.
He was the 10th person to be charged in a joint Police Service of Northern Ireland and MI5 investigation called Operation Arbacia, The Irish News reported Tuesday.
Hijjawi, 62, was arrested at Heathrow Airport, and his house in the Blackhall area of Edinburgh was searched by Scottish police, the report said. He attended two meetings that were surveilled by MI5, the UK’s domestic intelligence service, it said.
In 2018, Hijjawi traveled to Beirut with Kevin Barry Murphy, who was one of six suspects who appeared in court on Monday. They were charged with terrorist-related offenses, including directing terrorism, The Irish News reported.
Hijjawi said he attended the New Irish Republican Army meeting to provide an update on Palestinian affairs, the report said.
“Comrades, be assured that we are on the right side of history,” Hijjawi said during a talk in which he had been approached multiple times by MI5. “Whether in Palestine or Ireland, the nearly century-long struggle for freedom, self-determination, dignity and social justice will prevail, and the imperialist, colonialist powers sooner or later will be defeated. It’s just a matter of time.”
Anti-Israel media outlet Middle East Eye reported in 2016: “For Hijjawi, BDS is an important means to make Israel aware that the international community is not going to keep silent while Israel violates international law.”
The Jerusalem Post
has reported on the interconnections between the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, which targets Israel, and terrorism and violence.
Germany, Austria and other European countries have permitted convicted Palestinian terrorist and plane hijacker Leila Khaled to deliver pro-BDS talks. She is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a US- and EU-designated terrorist entity.
Earlier this month, a Berlin court convicted BDS activist Stavit Sinai for a violent assault during a presentation by an Israeli Holocaust survivor.
In an email to The Jerusalem Post, Wael Shawish,Chairperson
Scottish Palestinian Society, wrote that "Dr. Bassalat is neither the chairperson of our organisation, the Scottish Palestinian Society, nor does he hold any formal office or represent the Society in any official capacity. However, in 2017 Dr Bassalat was the chairperson of our Society’s predecessor, the Association of Palestinian Communities in Scotland, which ceased to exist in 2018.  
Dr Bassalat is and remains to be an ordinary member of our Society, which includes members from a varied range of political orientations and of none. The Society, however, is apolitical as an organisation. " 
He added that "Our members are British citizens or residents of Palestinian origin who are hardworking and law abiding. We believe in the rule of law and the British and Scottish justice systems, both have as one of their pillars the principle of “innocent until proven guilty”. Our belief and trust in the British justice system therefore warrants that we assume Dr Bassalat to be innocent and treated as such until proven otherwise by a court of law. "
When asked if the Scottish Palestinian Society supports BDS,he said that "The new Scottish Palestinian Society is not a political orgamisation an therefore has no formal position on BDS or any other political issue. "