Travel ban imposed on Palestinian leader in Israel

23 April 2010

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Ameer Makhoul (Adri Nieuwhof)

On 22 April 2010 the Popular Committee for the Defense of Political Freedoms and Ittijah - Union of Arab Community-Based Associations issued the following statement:

This morning, the Israeli Border Police prevented Mr. Ameer Makhoul, the Director of Ittijah - Union of Arab Community-Based Associations inside Israel, from leaving the country. Makhoul, who also serves as the head of the Popular Committee for the Defense of Political Freedoms, received a prohibition order from leaving the country upon his arrival to the Jordan River Crossing. The order, which was issued by the Israeli Minister of the Interior, Eli Yishai, prohibits Makhoul from leaving the country for a period of two months.

In the prohibition order itself, the Israeli Minister of the Interior, Eli Yishai, states that “I have reached the conviction that the exit of Ameer Makhoul from the country poses a serious threat to the security of the state, and therefore I issue this order to prevent him from leaving the country until the 21st of June, 2010” according to article 6 of the 1948 emergency regulations. Even though the order grants Makhoul the right to appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court, Makhoul already stated his unwillingness to do so. Usually in such cases, Makhoul stated, the Supreme Court acts as an extension of the Israeli General Security Services (GSS), the Shabak [Shin Bet].

We consider this administrative order as one that aims at the creation of a culture of fear among Palestinian civil society and a direct attack on our popular and political bodies. We confirm our insistence to continue consolidating our relations with the Arab world and the world in general, and our call to boycott the State of Israel and its policies. Our relations with the Arab world are dependent upon neither the Israeli minister nor the GSS, but on our natural right based on international law and peoples’ rights. We also consider the order to be a direct attack on the Popular Committees for the Defense of Political Freedoms and its activities on local and international levels that manifest our people’s deep roots in our land.

Furthermore, this order constitutes the culmination of the Israeli intelligence persecution of Ittijah - Union of Arab Community-Based Associations during the last few years, due to its wide relations with the Arab world and its role in representing Palestinian civil society inside Israel on local and international levels.

Following the issuance of this prohibition order, representatives of Ittijah, the Popular Committee and the High Monitoring Committee of Arabs in Israel decided to convene today in order to discuss the methods to confront the order.