Ramallah (QNN) – Amnesty International (AI) is campaigning to get Israel to lift a travel ban on one of Palestinian campaigners.
Laith Abu Zeyad, a Palestinian living in the occupied West Bank, became an Amnesty International’s Campaigner on “Israel” and Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) since 2017. He has been barred from travelling abroad by the Israeli authorities since October 2019, for undisclosed “security reasons”.
“The decision by the Israeli authorities to impose the travel ban is baseless. He is a human rights defender who should be protected and not punished. Any suggestion that Laith poses a security threat is simply absurd,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
“The travel ban imposed on Laith since October 2019 has largely impacted his ability to do his work and had a devastating personal consequence. We take this opportunity today to also urge the Israeli authorities to end all violations against human rights defenders in Israel and the OPT.”
In September 2019, Abu Zeyad applied for a humanitarian permit at al-Zaytoona military checkpoint (Hazatem) near Jerusalem to accompany his mother for medical treatment in Jerusalem. His application was denied on the same day based on “security reasons” without any further explanation. In December last year he was banned from visiting his mother, who was suffering from cancer, and as a result he did not get the opportunity to see her before her death.
After having accepted, in late March, a petition from Amnesty International seeking to lift the travel ban imposed by the Israeli authorities on Abu Zeyad, the Jerusalem District Court has set a hearing date on this matter for 31 May.
Amnesty said it believes that Israel is punishing Abu Zeyad for his human rights work.
“Laith’s case reflects the wider pattern of attacks against human rights defenders in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and it is another chilling signal of Israel’s growing intolerance of critical voices,” it said.