Israel will expel a human rights worker, citing the boycott law

Omar Shakir from Human Rights Watch

Israel's Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by the local director of Human Rights Watch, which sought to block the Israeli government's attempt to expel him for allegedly supporting an worldwide boycott movement against Israel. The decision to implement the order now lies with the Israeli Government - if it proceeds, Shakir will have 20 days to leave the country.

That led human rights activists to establish little flattering parallels between Israel and other countries that have denied access to the group, such as Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela.

Shakir has denied supporting any boycotts on Israel during his work for HRW but it assumed that he has been deliberately targeted because of HRW's opposition to the settlements in the West Bank and calls for private companies to stop aiding these settlements.

It has lobbied Western powers to follow suit, and Shakir's case was a test for its anti-boycott legislation. Amnesty International called it "reprehensible" and a "cowardly move".

Mainly, the court said it was reassured that Shakir would be an exception since it said that the government guaranteed that it would permit HRW to send in a new official quickly to replace Shakir. The law includes a provision extending the ban to anyone who seeks boycotts of the Israeli settlements built on territory that the country captured in 1967, and that Palestinians view as part of a future state.

Other rights organizations also lambasted the ruling. Airbnb later restored the Israeli West Bank rental listings.

Former Israeli officials and human rights groups filed motions to join Mr Shakir's appeal, while the European Union and United Nations Secretary General António Guterres called on Israel not to deport him.

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Ayman Odeh, a senior politician representing Israel's Arab minority in the Knesset, added on Twitter that deporting Shakir "only proves to us and to the world the extent to which his work is needed". The BDS movement says it is a nonviolent campaign for Palestinian rights and does not endorse a specific solution to the conflict.

The government's real motivation, Sfard said, was to hamper Human Rights Watch activities in the country.

"I applaud the decision of the Supreme Court ... that a work visa should not be given to a foreign boycott activist who wants to harm Israel and its citizens", said Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan in a statement.

Israel has formally banned entry to BDS supporters.

A lawyer for Shakir said the ruling meant that his client "would need to leave within 20 days" or face deportation.

Tuesday's decision had been delayed for months as Shakir and his backers made their case against his deportation.

The remarks "distinctly call for a boycott of entities operating in Israel and the West Bank", the court said.

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