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Israel to set up taskforce to work against boycott movements

Israel's Knesset yesterday agreed to have a joint taskforce to work against movements that promote boycotting Israel and to prevent them from operating within the country, local media reported.

A senior official, who spoke to Israeli newspaper Haaretz on condition of anonymity, said that the new taskforce will define the criteria by which a foreign activist will be marked for deportation or barred from entry.

It is unclear whether specific evidence against individual activists will be required or whether membership in an "incriminated" group will form sufficient grounds for deportation or prevention of entry.

According to the official, members of the Knesset stressed that Israel seeks to focus on foreign nationals who are proven to have arrived in the country to promote the boycott, foster unrest or encourage riots in the West Bank.

Meanwhile, the Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post reported Interior Minister Aryeh Deri saying: "We have the responsibility to do all we can to crush the boycott and say clearly that we will not allow the State of Israel to be harmed."

"Boycotting Israel must have a price."

Director-General of the Strategic Affairs Ministry Sima Vaknin-Gil said: "The bottom line is that today, among nations of the world, Israel is seen as a pariah state… Our goal is that by 2025, no one will question whether the State of Israel has the right to exist."

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