The United Nations human rights workers in Palestine did not receive new visas in Palestine, as well as a Palestinian pop star after Israel did not renew their visas. Nine foreign staff from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, or the OHCHR, along with James Heenan left Israel and Palestinian territories to avoid being tagged as undocumented visitors.
In February, Israel cut its ties with the UN agency after the latter published a list that had more than 100 companies who worked in illegal settlements in the West Bank.
Omar Shakir, who is based in Amman, when he was expelled from Israel after claims surfaced that he was supporting calls for a boycott, mentioned that everything was part of a wider trend where human rights activists may not enter because of their criticism of Israel’s track record on human rights.
Although Shakir is having second thoughts, if Israel only wanted to silence the critics, it is failing as what has happened seemed to fuel the human rights activists more.
Israel has also stopped a Palestinian pop star from going back home.
In 2013, Mohammed Assaf shot to fame after winning the Arab Idol competition. Israel’s decision was based on Assaf’s video, where he called for resistance against the Palestinian occupation.
Assaf responded with an Instagram post, commenting that banning him from going home is “nothing but a continuation of the policies of oppression and curbing the freedoms suffered by my people to whom I belong in heart, form, entity, and spirit, and it will not stop me loving and singing about my country in every state.