BDS Leader Accuses Israel of Imposing Travel Ban

YERUSHALAYIM (AP/Hamodia) -

A leader of the international boycott movement against Israel accused Israeli authorities on Tuesday of imposing a travel ban on him as retribution for his political activities.

The move comes weeks after Israel’s Interior Minister, Rabbi Aryeh Deri, who oversees immigration policy, was quoted as saying that he would consider revoking residency rights of Omar Barghouti.

In a possible first step, Barghouti said Tuesday that Israel told him last month that it was not renewing a permit that allows him to travel abroad. As a permanent resident of Israel, he does not hold a passport and instead requires special permission to travel in and out of the country.

The Interior Ministry said Tuesday that there is evidence that Barghouti’s “center of life” is in Yehudah and Shomron, not Israel, and his residency is under review by the attorney general. Barghouti denied the allegation, saying he spends most of his time with his family in the northern Israeli city of Acre.

“I was given information that his life is in Ramallah and he is using his resident status to travel all over the world in order to operate against Israel in the most serious manner,” Deri was quoted as saying. “He was given rights similar to those of a citizen and he took advantage of our enlightened state to portray us as the most horrible state in the world.”

The Israeli Justice Ministry confirmed that it was reviewing the case at the request of Rabbi Deri. It did not say when the review would be completed.

Barghouti is a founder of the international BDS movement, which calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

In late March, Rabbi Deri was quoted as telling a conference that he was considering revoking Barghouti’s residency. Barghouti, whose family are Palestinian but who was born in Qatar, married an Israeli Arab citizen, entitling him to claim permanent residency.