Omar Barghouti, high ranking member of BDS movement, will not have his travel permit renewed. Although he resides in Akko, the majority of his life is in the West Bank, thus preventing him from travel document renewal.

A leader of the international boycott movement against Israel on Tuesday accused Israeli authorities of imposing a travel ban on him as retribution for his political activities.

In late March, Israel’s Interior Minister Aryeh Deri was quoted as telling a conference that he was considering revoking Barghouti’s residency.

As a possible first step, Barghouti said Tuesday that Israel told him last month that it was not renewing a permit that allows him to travel abroad. As a permanent resident of Israel, he doesn’t hold a passport and instead requires special permission to travel in and out of the country.

Omar Barghouti is a leader in the BDS movement (Photo: EPA)
Omar Barghouti is a leader in the BDS movement (Photo: EPA)


Barghouti, a Qatari-born Palestinian married to an Israeli woman said he’s lived in Israel legally since 1994 and never before had a problem renewing his travel permit. He said he does so every two years.

The Israeli Interior Ministry said Tuesday that there is evidence that Barghouti’s “center of life” is in the West Bank, not Israel, and his residency is under review by the attorney general. Barghouti denied the allegation, saying he spends most of his time with his family in the northern Israeli city of Acre.

“I was given information that his life is in Ramallah and he is using his resident status to travel all over the world in order to operate against Israel in the most serious manner,” Deri was quoted as saying. “He was given rights similar to those of a citizen and he took advantage of our enlightened state to portray us as the most horrible state in the world.”

“Refusing to renew my travel document now is therefore clearly political,” Barghouti said in an email. “It does not just deny me my freedom of movement. It is seen by legal experts as a first step toward revoking my permanent residency, a clearly political and vindictive measure that has no legal basis.”

Barghouti is a founder of the international BDS movement, which calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

Israel says the movement’s true goal is to destroy the country. BDS pushes, among other things, for a return of Palestinian refugees to family properties lost in the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation. Israel says the Palestinian “right of return” would lead to a massive influx of refugees and mean the end of the country as a Jewish state. Israeli officials have identified the BDS movement as a major threat.

BDS supporters say the movement¬† has made gains in recent years. US and British academic unions have endorsed boycotts, student governments at universities have made divestment proposals, and a number of churches have sold off shares in businesses seen as profiting from Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. The BDS movement also claims responsibility for pressuring some large companies to stop or modify operations in Israel.

The Israeli Justice Ministry confirmed that it was reviewing the case at the request of Deri. It did not say when the review would be completed.

As reported by Ynetnews