An Israeli minister, on Wednesday, threatened to ban human rights group Amnesty International from the country, for its criticism of some tourism companies.
Gilad Erdan, the minister of public security, accused the rights group of promoting a boycott against Israelis.
“I have instructed the Ministry of Strategic Affairs to examine the possibility of preventing the entry of members of Amnesty to Israel,” Erdan said.
His remarks came after Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s strategy and research director for Turkey,warned that online tourism companies that do business in the occupied Palestinian territories could face prosecution “for supporting war crimes”.
In a new report, Amnesty chides several prominent online tourism firms — including Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor — for promoting tourism to illegal Israeli settlements, thus contributing to Israel’s decades-long occupation.
Such activities, Gardner added, “violate the UN’s guiding principles on business and human rights […] which call on corporations to operate in accordance with international humanitarian law”.
Palestinian figures show that some 640,000 Jewish settlers currently live on 196 settlements (built with the Israeli government’s permission) and more than 200 settler “outposts” (built without its permission) across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as Israel’s “eternal and undivided capital” — a move never recognized by the international community.
International law continues to view the entire West Bank as “occupied territory” and considers all Israeli settlement building there as illegal.
~Andalou Agency/Days of Palestine