The Israeli decision on one of the world's most prominent nongovernmental organizations in its field emerged after Israeli authorities turned down a visa for its new Israel and Palestine director, Omar Shakir, who is a US citizen, The Guardian reported Friday. And, in 2016, the government requested HRW assist a case in which victims of human rights abuses were Israelis.
"Neither closing Israel's borders to human rights organizations and activists nor other measures by the Israeli government against organizations that criticize the occupation will deter us from continuing to report human rights violations in the territories controlled by Israel", the groups added.
"We have little relations with governments in North Korea, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Cuba and Venezuela where there is zero appetite for human rights engagement", Shakir said.
In response to the request, the Immigration Authority said that it would not grant the request, as the reports issued by the organization "are political in nature and serve Palestinian propaganda purposes, while falsely waving the flag of 'human rights.' As a result we are denying the visa request", the Authority said in a letter to the Foreign Ministry, stressing that it relied on the opinions of the Ministry regarding the organization.
The same letter, the NGO said, had claimed HRW was "not a real human rights group".
"HRW is a credible human rights organization and even though we do not agree with all of their assertions or conclusions, given the seriousness of their efforts, we support the importance of the work they do", Toner said.
The organizations that signed the document were listed as: Adalah Center, Akevot, Amnesty, International Israel, Bimkom, Breaking the Silence.
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But HRW also frequently highlights abuses by Palestinians, accusing internationally backed Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the rival Hamas militant group in Gaza of arbitrarily detaining journalists and activists and torturing detainees.
Human Rights Watch works on all 19 countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
Last year, a new law limited foreign funding for NGOs which Israel considers critical of its policies.
Israel is refusing to issue visas to the global staff of one of the most prominent worldwide human rights NGOs - Human Rights Watch - accusing the group of an "extreme, hostile and anti-Israel agenda". "We reference HRW reports in our own reporting, including our annual human rights reports". By contrast, Human Rights Watch maintains staff who work legally in its registered offices in some 24 countries around the world, including Lebanon, Jordan, and Tunisia. It "could be reconsidered if the organisation appeals against the decision to the interior ministry", he said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said the decision had been taken because of HRW's "extreme, hostile anti-Israel agenda which was working at the service of Palestinian propaganda.in a totally biased manner". Human Rights Watch has retained counsel and intends to challenge the decision before an Israeli district court.
Shakir responded to the denial on social media, slamming the Interior Ministry's decision.
Last year, the government passed a Transparency Law requiring groups that receive more than half their funding from overseas to declare it and Israeli authorities have been accused of doing little to help human rights researchers receiving death threats from nationalists.