An article in the latest New York Review of Books caught my eye. It is by Raja Shehadeh, and is titled “What does Israel Fear from This ‘Terrorist?’” It reports how Al-Haq, the 40-odd year old human rights organisation, ‘among the first in the Arab world’ has been branded a terrorist organisation by the Israeli government. Raja writes “Why now? One might ask. The most probable answer is that Al-Haq has recently given strong support to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by supplying evidence for its investigation of war crimes by Israel during the 2014 Gaza War . . Among the individuals who could be named in such an indictment would be Gantz [Benny Gantz, Israeli minister of defence] himself, who was commander in chief of the Israeli military in 2014.” And who issued the order to label Al-Haq a terrorist organisation? Why, none other than Benny Gantz. Al-Haq has a high reputation in the international world of human rights, which naturally makes it an enemy of countries which routinely ignore human rights. It has to be said too, as Raja records, that Al-Haq has also reported human rights offences committed by Hamas. Prior to this latest attack on Al-Haq, Rajah recalls a long history of harassment, intimidation and smearing by the Israeli state. (Thank heavens nothing like that ever happens in the UK, where our democracy is unsullied by such tactics.) I wonder what Israeli ministers call people who support the ICC’s efforts? No prizes for guessing.
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