Israeli Ministry of the Interior Attempts to Deport French Human Rights Defenders


On 6 April 2002, the Ministry of the Interior attempted to ban entry into Israel of three representatives of international human rights organizations and threatened to deport them within hours. Upon their arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, the three - President Sidiki Kaba and Secretary General Driss El Yazami of the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH), and Henri LeClerc, former President of the Ligue des Droits de l'Homme (LDH) - were told that they would not be permitted to enter Israel, and that they would be deported to Paris. The three were travelling to Israel/Palestine to participate in a press conference regarding human rights violations resulting from the current Israeli incursions into the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Each of the three had all the necessary documentation, including travel visas, required to enter Israel. 

Although the three human rights defenders requested to be informed of the grounds on which they were refused entry, the Ministry representative at the airport refused their request. Further, they were not permitted to meet with the responsible manager, nor were they given his name or contact information. Based on information received by LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment, Adalah immediately intervened on their behalf, contacting officials at the Ministry of the Interior and the Attorney General's office. 

This denial of entry by Ministry personnel is reflective of a recently-enacted policy of Minister of the Interior Eliyahu Yishai, who ordered border officers to bar the entry to all foreign nationals who are affiliated with Palestinian NGOs and solidarity organizations. As reported in Ha'aretz, Minister Yishai issued this order on 31 March 2002. According to information received by Adalah, this order has been implemented several times since its issuance. 

As a result of Adalah's intervention, the three were permitted to enter Israel. While Adalah welcomed the resolution of this case, the organization remains concerned about the new policy, and will raise these matters with the Minister of the Interior. Should this issue not be resolved appropriately, Adalah will file a petition to the Supreme Court.