Human rights defender Yousef Habash says “I told the Israelis to charge me” 18Jun12 June 18, 2012

Alternative Information Centre  -  17 June 2012

Palestinian human rights defender Yousef Habash, whom Israel has prohibited from leaving the West Bank for the past year, told Israeli authorities they should charge him with something or allow him to leave.

“I was called in for questioning by the General Security Services,” Habash told the Alternative Information Center (AIC). “They didn’t ask me anything of consequence. I told them to either charge me with an offence or allow me to leave the West Bank.”

Israel has prevented Habash from leaving the West Bank as of June 2011, when he was stopped at the border with Jordan. International travel is necessary for Habash, who is the Public Relations Office for the Palestinian Union of Health Work Committees, the largest NGO in the West Bank.

Habash is also married to a foreign national, and they are expecting their first child in September. “I want to go be with my wife as she is alone and can no longer travel to visit me here,” Habash added.

Via attorney Mahmoud Hassan of Addameer: Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association, Habash is challenging his travel ban in Israeli court. The first hearing will be held in Jerusalem on Wednesday 20 June , which Habash is not permitted to attend as he is a West Bank resident.

Prior to filing the petition, attorney Hassan was told by Israel that Habash is banned from travel because he “belongs to a political party.” This administrative decision was not based on any previous legal case, nor is there any indication of its basis or expected duration.

In addition to his work with UHWC, Habash is a member of the steering committee of the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), a member of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee and a member of the board of directors of Addameer.


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