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  • Omar Barghouti co-founded the BDS movement in 2005 as a form of non-violent pressure to make Israel comply with international law.

    Omar Barghouti co-founded the BDS movement in 2005 as a form of non-violent pressure to make Israel comply with international law. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 September 2019

The founder of the BDS movement is facing the increasing threat to be expelled from his country of residency.

Israeli Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber is expected to rule on the status of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) co-founder, Omar Barghouti, as pressure to annul his right to residency in the country is escalating.

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The founder of the movement who was barred in April from entering the United States, an Israeli ally, is being increasingly threated to be deported from his country of residence as his ban from the U.S., along with Israel’s decision to block American Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar in August because of their BDS support, are being used by Zionists to push for the revocation of his legal status within Israeli-claimed territory.

Knesset member Keti Shitrit strongly protested Barghouti’s presence in the country calling it “absurd.”

“Israel denied entry to two Congresswomen due to their support of BDS while allowing the BDS founder and leader to reside in Israel and receive full benefits from the State of Israel,” said Shitrit who is adamantly against a Palestinian state.

As Israel’s far-right parties and politicians see Barghouti as “a major threat to the citizens of Israel," the government faces increasing pressure to expel the activist from the country. First call for his expulsion came from the right-wing NGO Betzalmo, who sent a letter to the Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit and Interior Minister Arye Deri asking them why Israel does not act the same way as the U.S. and removes Barghouti’s residency.

Mandelblit past the decision to Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber, according to local media.

“We are pleased that the attorney general has finally decided, after years of appeals from Betzlamo and several MKs, including the Minister of the Interior who addressed him on the matter, to pass this decision to the deputy attorney general,” the group stated, adding “we have no doubt that the deputy attorney general shall decide that anyone who harms the state of Israel will not receive benefits from it. Any other decision would ridicule and curtail Israel’s struggle against the boycott movement and Israel’s demand from other countries to fight against it.”

The BDS leader did not make an immediate statement regarding the forecoming decision. He will though be speaking at The World Transformed (TWT), a United Kingdom Labour Party event that will take place next week in Brighton.

“Omar Barghouti is one of a number of internationally recognised human rights defenders ... of the Palestinian people as recognised by international laws. We look forward to hearing his perspective at this year's TWT festival," said a TWT spokesperson to Jewish Chronicle.

Barghouti was born in 1964 in Qatar to a Palestinian family. He moved to Israel in 1993 following his marriage to an Israeli-Arab woman and co-founded the BDS movement in 2005 as a form of non-violent pressure to make Israel comply with international law.

The movement has grown in support over the years, attracting prominent supporters such as Angela Davis, Judith Butler, and Roger Waters.

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