On March 13, 2009, the Dutch Geuzen Resistance Foundation awarded a “human rights defenders” prize to B’Tselem and Palestinian NGO Al Haq (funders include Ford Foundation, Christian Aid, the Netherlands, Irish Aid, Norway, and Diakonia). Al Haq’s director, Shawan Jabarin wanted to personally receive the award in the Netherlands, but was denied a travel visa based on his alleged position as a “senior activist” in the PFLP terror organization. Many NGOs including B’Tselem, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued condemnations of the Israeli government and demanded Jabarin be allowed to travel. Representatives of the Dutch foundation called the denial “shocking,” and HRW also wrote a letter to the Dutch government seeking intervention and calling Israel’s decision “arbitrary.” Both HRW’s letter and its statement omitted any reference to Jabarin’s ties to the PFLP. As prior NGO Monitor analyses have shown, this is not the first time HRW has obscured information regarding Jabarin’s terrorist links.
Jabarin brought a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court to reverse the travel restriction (his third in the past 18 months). A hearing was held on March 5, 2009, and the court allowed for a second hearing on March 9. Representatives of the Dutch Government and several NGOs, including Gisha, Front Line Defenders, PCATI, Yesh Din, ACRI, the Minerva Center, and Oxfam attended the hearing in support of Jabarin. On March 10, the Court upheld the government’s visa denial because “the material pointing to [Jabarin’s] involvement in the activity of terrorist entities is concrete and reliable” and that “additional negative material concerning [Jabarin] has been added even after his previous petition was rejected.” These findings are in accord with decisions by other panels of the Supreme Court such as a June 2007 decision holding that Jabarin
“is apparently active as a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in part of his hours of activity he is the director of a human rights organisation, and in another part he is an activist in a terrorist organisation which does not shy away from acts of murder and attempted murder, which have nothing to do with rights, and, on the contrary, deny the most basic right of all, the most fundamental of fundamental rights, without which there are no other rights – the right to life.”