UK: visit by leading Palestinian and Israeli human rights activists
Three leading human rights activists from Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory will be visiting London next week to highlight Israel’s system of apartheid and the need for the UK government and political parties to do significantly more to support the human rights of Palestinians.
The three - Ahmed Abofoul, 30, an international lawyer working for the Ramallah-based human rights organisation Al Haq, Sarit Michaeli, 51, a policy and advocacy expert with the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, and Rafat Abu Aish, 28, an activist from the Bedouin community in the Naqab desert in southern Israel - will be meeting Westminster politicians, officials and civil society groups during their week-long UK visit from 17 October. The three are available for media interviews.
On 17 October, Ahmed Abofoul will be speaking at Protecting The Right to Boycott: Preventing Impunity (7-8:30pm), a high-profile event being held to rally opposition against attempts in the UK to outlaw political activism based on boycotts, sanctions and divestment campaigns. This will be chaired by the acclaimed South African writer Gillian Slovo.
Among other lobbying events, the three will be meeting the all-party parliamentary groups on Palestine and on human rights, with meetings scheduled with parliamentarians from all of the main political parties.
The Israeli authorities have stepped up their campaign of repression against Al Haq and wider Palestinian civil society organisations in recent months, including raiding and closing the offices of Al Haq and smearing them as “terrorists”. The delegation will be calling on the UK government to press the Israeli authorities to end their campaign of repression against Palestinian civil society and allow these human rights organisations to carry out their work free from harassment.
The visit comes as Amnesty is set to publish new findings on serious human rights violations committed during the course of a sustained Israeli military offensive in Gaza in August. Earlier this year, Amnesty published a 280-page report which showed how Israel’s seizures of Palestinian land and property, its unlawful killings, the forcible transfer of Palestinian people from their land, and the denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians were all components of a system amounting to apartheid under international law.