Palestinian rights activists blocked from attending UN civil society forum   

Middle East Monitor  /  May 5, 2022

The US and Israel have blocked leading Palestinian human rights activists from attending the UN Civil Society Forum in Mexico City, Quds Press reported yesterday.

The Director of Addameer for Human Rights, Sahar Francis, and the Director of Bisan Centre for Research and Development, Ubai al-Aboudi, were both stopped by the Israeli authorities, apparently at America’s request.

Despite having the necessary documentation, Francis was prevented from boarding a flight to the US on Saturday, a day before Al-Aboudi was stopped from travelling to Amman in Jordan to catch a flight to attend the same event.

Al-Aboudi told Quds Press that his request to meet a senior Israeli official to get an explanation about his travel ban was denied. He pointed out that he travelled to Jordan last month without any difficulty.

It is worth noting that Israel’s Pegasus spyware was found on Al-Aboudi’s mobile phone last November. The phones of five other Palestinian rights activists were also infected.

Last year, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz announced that six Palestinian NGOs, including Addameer and Bisan, had been labelled as “terrorist entities”. The US did not accept this designation and asked for an explanation from Israel, but nothing has been retracted yet.