It would appear that Israel’s borders now extend as far as most of Europe.
This weekend hundreds of people participating in the Welcome to Palestine campaign have been barred from “entering” Israel by being prevented from leaving their own country.
Article 13 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says:
Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
Israel provided airlines with a list of individuals whose right of entry it denies, ordered these airlines to prevent them from boarding their flights and threatened the airlines with sanctions if they failed to comply. So much for the human right of freedom of movement.
Anticipating that Israeli intelligence might not have been able to identify everyone they are afraid of, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office prepared a letter to be handed to activists who manage to reach Ben-Gurion International Airport.
The letter looks like it could have been hammered out by Benjamin Netanyahu himself on a manual typewriter as he struggles to protect Israel from its latest existential threat. It’s ironic that a state that craves respect and recognition as a democratic state, expresses itself in the sarcastic language one might expect from a paranoid autocratic ruler.
The unsigned letter (without corrections) states:
We appreciate your choosing to make Israel the
object of your humanitarian concerns.
We know there are manyother worthy choices.
You could have chosen to protest theSyrian
regime’s daily savagery against its own people,
which has claimed thousands of lives.
You could have chosen to protest the Iranian
regime’s brutal crackdown on dissent and support
of terrorism throughout the world.
You could have chosen to protest Hamas rule in
Gaza, where terror organizations commit a double
war crime by firing rockets at civilians and
hiding behind civilians.
But instead you chose to protest against Israel,
the Middle East’s sole democracy, where women are
equal, the press criticizes the government, human
rights organizations can operate freely,
religious freedom is protected for all and
minorities do not live in fear.
We therefore suggest that you first solve the
real problems of the region, and then come back
and share with us your experience.
Have a nice flight.
In 2008, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Gabriela Shalev, commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, saying:
Let us reaffirm that each and every state –– regardless of circumstances –– must fulfill its primary responsibility to respect and protect the rights of all individuals, without distinction of any kind. Let us continue to promote the work of non-governmental organizations and human rights defenders who have played a critical role in assessing violations and protection gaps. Let us work towards supporting international mechanisms, such as human rights treaty bodies, international and regional tribunals and courts and the ICC – all of which seek to provide effective tools to ensure adequate redress and respect for human rights.
In an era when we are increasingly interconnected –– in a time when information rapidly flows across oceans and continents –– we must shine the light of the Universal Declaration to the four corners of the globe. We must commit our resources, as well as our collective resolve and determination, to secure human life, dignity and basic rights for all.
For in the end, human rights are not merely legal instruments. They are expressions of our common humanity, our common vision for a better, more just world.
Nice words. It’s a shame they have such little meaning in a state that repeatedly trumpets its claim to be the region’s “sole democracy” yet denies the human rights of almost four million Palestinians living under Israel military rule or control.
Meanwhile, this is how Israelis treat foreign human rights activists if they manage to reach the West Bank:
Just as disturbing as this soldier’s unprovoked use of violence are the comments below the video.