Israel’s Interior Ministry Looking Into Revoking BDS Co-founder Omar Barghouti’s Residency

Qatari-born Barghouti, who lives in northern Israel, is 'doing everything to harm the state, and shouldn’t enjoy the right of being a resident of Israel,' minister claims

Omar Barghouti speaks during a conference at the ULB university in Brussels, on April 30, 2013.
AFP

Israel’s Interior Minister Arye Dery has ordered immigration authorities to look into revoking residency status from co-founder of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement Omar Barghouti for “breach of trust,” Dery’s office announced Sunday.

“I intend to act quickly to revoke Barghouti’s permanent resident status,” Dery said, calling him “a man who is doing everything to harm the state, and therefore shouldn’t enjoy the right of being a resident of Israel.”

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In recent years Israel has been fighting Barghouti,a Qatari-born Palestinian who resides in the northern Israeli city of Acre, over his political activity and support for the boycott. Dery’s announcement comes weeks after Likud lawmaker Keti Shitrit asked Dery and Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber to advance Barghouti’s deportation, on which the minister said he had asked for a legal opinion.

In 2017 Israel arrested him on suspicion of tax evasion, and in April he was denied entry into the United States. Barghouti’s supporters also said that he was denied a visa by the United Kingdom to attend a Labour party convention last month, which the Israeli Strategic Affairs Ministry’s chief executive called “a success.” However, the British Home Office said he hadn’t been denied a visa, but rather his visa was issued within its “service standard” of 15 working days, meaning he had applied for it too late.

Ayman Odeh, who leads the four-party Israeli Arab alliance Joint List, said “revoking residency or citizenship is an anti-democratic act. Today it’s Barghouti and tomorrow it could be anyone who doesn’t agree with the Israeli government, with the occupation policy and with Jewish supremacist laws. We will use all legal means we have to protect our rights.”