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Israel: rights groups appeal against travel ban on Arab citizens

August 30, 2022 at 1:03 pm

Israeli forces raided and shut down 7 Palestinian NGOs in Ramallah, West Bank on 18 August 2022 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Adalah and Al-Mizan Centre for Human Rights have appealed against Israel’s travel bans imposed on senior Israeli-Arab citizens Sheikh Raed Salah and Dr Suleiman Aghbariyeh, they said on Monday. The two rights groups described the travel bans as illegal.

Sheikh Raed Salah is the former head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, which was banned in 2015. Dr Aghbariyeh is a former mayor of the Arab majority city of Um Al-Fahm.

“The travel bans lack legal procedures for such orders so they must be cancelled immediately,” said Adalah and Al-Mizan Centre. In their appeal to Israeli Interior Minister Aylete Shaked and Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, they pointed out that the bans undermine the basic human right of freedom of movement. “The minister [Shaked] does not have the legal power to issue such an order… and does not have the power to take away the right of movement from anyone and the right of self-defence before any commission.”

The travel bans were apparently issued on the basis of secret information that neither Shaked nor Baharav-Miara have revealed to Salah and Aghbariyeh or their lawyers. The government officials have since claimed that the two men planned to meet people who support terrorism, as well as work towards reorganising the Islamic Movement.

Both men deny the Israeli claims. They insist that the bans have been issued for political and personal reasons, because each one is a prominent and popular figure within the Arab community in Israel. Five per cent of Israeli citizens are Palestinian Arabs.

Moreover, Salah and Aghbariyeh have said that the secret information is made up of “fake claims”, the like of which are always used by the Israeli occupation authorities to target the Palestinians and the Arab community in Israel.

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