Israel PM vows national service ban for NGO over UN row

After B'Tselem criticism of Israel settlement policy at UN, PM says he will remove it as option for national service

Israel PM vows national service ban for NGO over UN row

World Bulletin / News Desk

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to bar national service volunteers from joining human rights group B'Tselem after the organization angered him with their testimony at the U.N. last week.

Netanyahu said in a Facebook post on Saturday he planned to change the national service law during the upcoming winter session of Israel's parliament, the Knesset, a move he said the government's legal adviser agreed to.

He went on to call the anti-settlement group "shoddy and unhinged".

In a testimony at the UN Security Council last week, B'Tselem's director Hagai El-Ad said Israel's settlement policy in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem had essentially been allowed by the international community through its inaction, despite it being contrary to international law.

Israel’s ongoing construction of Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank was a main reason for the collapse of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in April 2014.

International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Israeli settlement building on the land to be illegal.

B’Tselem said it would not be intimidated by Netanyahu’s threat.
“We will not stoop down to the prime minister’s level. We will not be cowed and neither will the hundreds of thousands in Israel who opposed the occupation,” the rights group said in a statement.

“We will continue to tell the truth: The occupation must end.”

Volunteering for B'Tselem has been allowed under a provision for a limited number of young Israelis who are excused from compulsory military service.

In 2014, B'Tselem was banned as an option by the head of the civic service authority but the decision was quickly overturned by Israel's then Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein.

The group documents alleged Israeli human rights abuses in the occupied Palestinian territories, often earning it the ire of Israeli politicians.

Earlier this year, right-wing groups ran a campaign against left-wing Israeli groups, accusing them of being foreign agents.

Last Mod: 16 Ekim 2016, 12:38
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