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PA to sue Israel over ‘crimes’ of hacking Palestinian officials' phones

November 11, 2021 at 9:49 am

This studio photographic illustration shows a smartphone with the website of Israel’s NSO Group which features ‘Pegasus’ spyware, on display on 21 July 2021 [JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images]

The Palestinian Authority (PA) said yesterday it is planning to prosecute the Israeli occupation over its “crime” of hacking phones of Palestinian employees.

In a statement, the PA’s Foreign Ministry said that some of its employees’ phones were hacked by Israeli spyware Pegasus.

This came following an investigation conducted by the rights groups Front Line Defenders, Citizen Lab and Amnesty International found that six Palestinians had their phones hacked by the Israeli software.

According to the findings, three of the Palestinians worked at an NGO and three worked at the Foreign Ministry.

The Foreign Ministry considered the hacking as “part of the continuous Israeli aggression” against the Palestinian people, organisations and leaders.

“We always expected that our telephones were infiltrated by the occupation authorities and that all we said and sent was heard and monitored,” the Foreign Ministry said.

“But now,” it added, “we have evidence and legal documents that acknowledge the existence of this Israeli intrusion.”

The ministry stressed it would “use all options to disclose the Israeli practices against Palestinians and prosecute them over the violation of rights and privacy of Palestinians.”

Last week, the US sanctioned the NSO Group, the Israeli spyware company that owns the Pegasus software, by putting it on a trade blacklist. The company was accused of supplying technology to foreign governments to maliciously target government officials, journalists, businesspeople, activists, academics and embassy workers.

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