The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) through its attorney, Gaby Lasky, yesterday, June 29, called on Minister of the Interior, Abraham Poraz, demanding that he stop deporting peace and human rights activists who come to provide humanitarian aid in Israel and the Occupied Territories.
This followed the deportation, on June 23, of a group of 6 medical doctors and health workers from Holland and Belgium who came to Israel last week in order to examine the accessibility of the Palestinian population in the Territories to Palestinian health services. Representatives of the Ministry of the Interior prevented the entrance of most members of the mission into Israel forcing the group to leave the country.
According to PCATI attorney, Gaby Lasky, a democratic regime is tested, among other ways, in its relationship to human rights activists, its ability to criticize the government’s actions and in the government’s compliance with international standards of protection of human rights. “The denial of the mission’s entrance into Israel supports the claim that democracy in Israel is a mere formality and that the State chooses to ignore the essential duties of a real democracy”.
According to Hannah Friedman, Executive Director of PCATI “The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel wrote to the Minister of the Interior three months ago following the deportation from Israel of international human rights activists and demanded that the policy of deportation and denial of entry into Israel be examined and altered. Unfortunately we did not receive a reply from Mr. Poraz and the policy has not changed”. Friedman added “I hope that the Minister of the Interior who claims to represent a just and democratic Israel will prove that this is his intention and immediately act to change the current policy”.