Israeli occupation forces detained the general coordinator of the BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions – movement in a night raid early Thursday.
At around 3:30 am dozens of Israeli soldiers, accompanied by at least one dog, stormed the home of Mahmoud Nawajaa near Ramallah, “handcuffing, blindfolding and taking him away from his wife and three young children,” the BDS National Committee (BNC) said.
This video released by the BNC shows Nawajaa, 34, as he is led away blindfolded by armed soldiers:
The arrest did not pass without protest, notably from Nawajaa’s two older children, 9 and 7, who shouted at the soldiers, the BNC added. The older son said, “Leave dad alone. Get out. Your dog doesn’t scare me.”
The BNC noted that under the UN’s Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, the “Persecution of organizations and persons, by depriving them of fundamental rights and freedoms, because they oppose apartheid,” is one of the inhumane acts committed to maintain an apartheid system.
Nawajaa has frequently condemned Israeli apartheid as part of his work with the BNC.
Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the BDS movement, called for international pressure on Israel to immediately release Nawajaa.
“Mahmoud is a leading Palestinian human rights defender who is highly regarded in Palestine and around the world for his tireless and passionate advocacy of Palestinian rights,” Barghouti said.
“Israel’s regime of military occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid is desperately trying to terrorize Palestinian BDS activists and their families, after having failed to slow down the growth of the movement,” Barghouti added.
“We call on all BDS activists everywhere to further strengthen BDS campaigning to hold Israel accountable.”
“As Israel becomes a role model for the racist, authoritarian far right, BDS is becoming a key component of the global progressive wave that fights for Indigenous, racial, economic, social, gender and climate justice,” Barghouti asserted.
He reaffirmed the recent Palestinian civil society call for sanctions on Israel “to end Israel’s war crimes, crimes against humanity and entire regime of oppression of the Indigenous Palestinians.”
“Only that can help us achieve freedom, justice and equality.”