France bestowed its Knight of France National Order of Merit to Raji Sourani, a 67-year-old lawyer who runs the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza.
The award ceremony took place at the French Cultural Center in Gaza City, the Times of Israel reported.
Sourani has advocated on behalf of Palestinians before the International Criminal Court since 2009 and has accused Israel of war crimes. He has also represented Palestinians in Israeli military court.
“The latest crisis and tensions prove that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will remain at the top of the international events and that France took several initiatives to promote the two-state solution and emphasize the basic principles of international law,” said France’s Consul General in Yerushalayim René Troccaz, at the ceremony.
Sourani said he would continue to work “to hold war criminals accountable.”
The Foreign Ministry has alleged Sourani’s organization maintains close ties to Hamas, and was involved in violent marches on the Israeli-Gaza border. It also said that Jaber Wishah, the PCHR deputy chairman until 2017, was previously the head of the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and served prison time for terrorism and attempted murder.
“It is disturbing that France should award such a high honor to someone who openly takes credit for pushing for the case against the State of Israel at the International Criminal Court and has been convicted of involvement with terror in the past,” said Olga Deutsch, vice president of NGO Monitor, a pro-Israel organization.