Monday, February 15, 2010

Human Rights Workers

Bridgette Chappell Photo AP

Just as Israel attempted to hide its actions during the Gaza Massacre, it now moves to screen from the outside world its continuing human rights abuses in the Occupied West Bank. The arrest last week of the young Australian activist Bridget Chappell was just one of a number of arrests and deportations of international human rights workers, activists and observers in recent weeks. Israelis and Palestinians who have been active in their opposition to the ongoing theft of Palestinian land and property have also been subject to arrest and detention in increasing numbers.

Israel has stepped up its efforts to deny entry to Palestine by anyone sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. It controls all entry points to the West Bank and Gaza (just as it controls every aspect of Palestinian life). While its blockade of Gaza is designed to starve the population into submission, the tightened controls on entry into the West Bank are an effort to hide its actions and the effects of its 42 years of military occupation from the eyes of the world.

In a move worthy of the Burmese junta, Israel has now decided to cancel the work permits of foreign nationals working in East Jerusalem and the West Bank for such aid organisations as Oxfam, Save the Children, Doctors Without Borders and Handicap International. While it is still possible for individuals from these organisations to apply for tourist visas the Interior Ministry ruling now makes it virtually impossible for them to carry on their humanitarian work.

Go to the Electronic Intifada (link at right) for Bridgette's article on the fate of Wael al Faqeeh, a human rights campaigner from Nablus.


Anonymous said...

You be careful over there. We don't want to have tome and rescue you Bob!

davinaj said...

I worry about this kind of policy. I am afraid that because I have contacted several Israeli government officials, including Shimon Peres, that I won't be able to visit Palestine in 2011 for my 50th birthday...I am proud of my behaviour but am concerned about the limits I may have placed on myself to do something worthwhile. How wrong is that!!

Anonymous said...