Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said on Sunday he had directed Population and Immigration Authority to prepare legal opinion to be used in deportation of BDS founder Omar Barghouti.
Barghouti holds Israeli permanent residency status, which he obtained after marrying an Arab Israeli woman, with whom he lives in the northern city of Acre.
“I intend to act quickly to deprive Omar Barghouti of residency status in Israel, Deri said in a statement announcing the move.
“This is a man does everything to harm the country and therefore must not enjoy the right to be a resident of Israel,” Deri added.
Israeli interior ministry said that the opportunity became available to push for Bargouti’s deportation after Israeli Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber notified Deri’s office that it had the authority to revoke the BDS founder’s residency status.
What is BDS?
The BDS campaign advocates boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israeli occupation businesses, universities and artists.
The movement is non-violent seeking Palestinian independence, but Israel claims the campaign aims to delegitimise it.
Chairman of Israeli Knesset’s Joint List Ayman Odeh said: “I have only one thing to say to Minister Deri: We [Arab Israelis] did not come to the State of Israel. The State of Israel came to us. Who are you to deny the residency of this native or any other citizen?”
“Denial of residency or citizenship is an anti-democratic act. Today, it is Barghouti, tomorrow it is anyone else who disagrees with the Israeli government, its policy of occupation and Jewish supremacy laws. We will defend our rights by whatever means available to us,” added Odeh.
Striping citizenship of Barghouti and other Arabs or Palestinians based on an amendment to made to the Israeli residency laws in 2018 that made breach of trust a crime significant enough to allow the interior minister to strip an individual of his or her residency status.
According to an interpretation of the law, boycotting Israel could constitute such an offense.
Israel has barred Barghouti from leaving the county a number of times in recent years by refusing to renew travel documents granted to Palestinian residents of Israel who do not have full citizenship.