Skip to main content

tv   Worlds Apart  RT  June 20, 2019 2:30pm-3:01pm EDT

2:30 pm
thank you for having me now i know that human rights watch has had a number of its staff members deported from countries that are usually thought of as authoritarian regimes but to have a similar possibility happened in that democratic country i think it's quite remarkable what got you in trouble with the israeli leadership israeli government going back several years now has been restricting human rights watch as access to both israel and the west bank it began actually several years ago in february of 2017 when the israeli government denied human rights watch a permit to have a foreign employee at the time they allege that human rights watch was engaged in propaganda for palestinians we went public it generated pressure the government relented and then last year the government accused me as the israel palestine director of human rights watch of promoting boycotts in israel we sued a court froze the deportation order and in court the government cited as evidence
2:31 pm
human rights watch is research regarding the activities of businesses and settlements and the court just in april affirmed that the deportation was legally valid and gave me 2 weeks to leave and we've now appealed to the israeli supreme court i know that the are now waiting this is supreme court's decision on whether or not there should be allowed to stand work within the country but it comes at a time when politically israelis say quite at a crossroads especially considering benjamin netanyahu is future political future do you think this political uncertainty in israel will have any bearing on the case absolutely i mean i think it's not a coincidence that the supreme court a scheduled our hearing for november 11th these really israelis will go to elections on september 17th the process to form a government usually takes around 6 weeks so by the time we're sitting in the courtroom will likely have unless there's some hiccups like law. time with
2:32 pm
coalition negotiations a new israeli government and the israeli supreme court and the israeli government will have important decisions to make about the extent to which israel today welcomes criticism of its human rights policies and particularly with regards to palestinians now the reason i'm asking this question is because i think. the the lower courts have interpreted the charges against you in a very broad political way essentially you've been found guilty of war came against the state of israel for simply saying that business businesses that operate in the all clear by the west bank how being too entrenched occupation just when did it become controversial to say that that's absolutely right and 2017 the israeli knesset passed a law that bans entry to those who call for boycotts of israel of course the outlawed self is problematic it essentially imposes a political litmus test who can enter israel but what the court has done in this
2:33 pm
decision is interpret a valid law to call to include people who call for businesses to respect human rights by not operating in illegal settlements in the west bank that is a dramatically broader reading of what's already a problematic law and essence opening the door to denying entry and eventually deporting those who simply call for business is not to abuse rights to criticize israeli settlements which according to everybody in the international community outside the israeli government are illegal are war crimes and contribute to serious rights abuse so this decision is very dangerous and the supreme court has a very significant decision to make which will speak to the heart of the extent to which israel welcomes those that challenges its policies towards palestinians in the future well i think there is no doubt that the settlement policies including various incentives for businesses are aimed at legitimate. izing the occupation so
2:34 pm
to some extent your advocacy ease on demining the state or the current policies of the state but what i can't understand is how israeli courts are getting around the fact that the occupation is still considered illegal israel is not claiming that were as bad as its constituent territory or is it already certainly the israeli court system has for a long time upheld israeli government policies and human rights abuses and settlements so the israelis have interpreted what's crystal clear international law regarding for example the illegality of settlements which are clear violation of the 4th geneva convention to be illegal now what they've done essentially in our case now is they've gone beyond sanctioning merely government policies to supporting putting its rubber stamp on government policies to stamp out dissidents so that's an extra step that they have gone beyond mela speak lir here the original law does not distinguish between israel and its illegal settlements in the occupied
2:35 pm
west bank and the objective really behind many of these anti boycott measures whether it be my deportation or whether it be laws that are being passed in the united states for example are to erase the distinction between israel within its borders and its settlements in the occupied west bank it is part of serving an agenda for greater israel that includes illegal settlements what are also thought was very interesting in the new york court decision is just the equivocation and the sort of the false equation off your political opinion to the last prophet of the israeli state may incur the kompany swore to take your opinion to heart and act on it and this is something that i find very common in the israeli discourse every time you bring up some critical issue you know almost immediately accused of . wanting to harm these really state. how do you explain these types of hyperbole i
2:36 pm
mean do you think it's conscious do you think it's part of a strategy perhaps i certainly think it's a universal tactic i used to cover egypt for human rights watch we documented the very same pattern when a government doesn't want to deal with it serious human rights abuses the easiest way to dismiss criticism is to attack the messenger and to put a label on them in egypt the label they would put on you as being a supporter for muslim brotherhood and israel it's been many things it can be anti-semitism and increasingly it is labeling you a supporter of boycotts and that actually the court decision is not even based on my political opinion because human rights watch is a rights group we don't take positions for example on political issues we document rights abuses by all actors israel palestinians and private companies and settlements and for the courts that human rights advocacy was interpreted to represent a threat to the state itself if advocacy or a human rights abuse is
2:37 pm
a threat to a system or a state i think the national question to ask is what kind of state is it that basically wants to deport somebody documenting rights abuse what i've learned from my career documenting human rights abuse and i've been blocked access from places like egypt it's said syria had a is any government that seeks to kick out people documenting abuses often in the end won't succeed in doing so and often it's a sign that those human rights abuses themselves are quite serious well i think prime minister netanyahu went even further in his reaction to your case because he hinted at here as somebody who under the banner of justice and human rights actively works to dillard to demise this state of israel and negate its very ride to exist how do you take it does your work challenge israel's right to exist that's quite simply a smear that's meant to detract from our well researched findings. the reality here
2:38 pm
is that we have documented rights abuses here for nearly 3 decades and if you see the documentation of rights abuse as a threat to your state's legitimacy it's a sign that your state's legitimacy may be tied to very serious human rights abuse in this case we're talking about a over 50 year long occupation that's defined by institutional discrimination in systematic rights abuse the reality here israeli officials and said if attacking. human rights groups that are documenting abuses or other critics of government policy should address the very serious human rights issues that we have documented and that are quite clear to anyone who understands the reality on the ground now you just mentioned this systematic human rights abuse especially when it comes to the palestinians and i personally thought that you made a very aliquid point by saying that when the hospitality website side says arab a.m.b.o. booking dot com facilitate the ranting of accommodation in the occupied territories
2:39 pm
they sensually partake in an openly discriminatory system because the palestinians are not allowed to you and to not allow to leave are not allowed to build not allowed even to stay for a few days and those ranted accommodations that are built on the land of that ancestors why do you think this argument though failed to persuade the company such as air b.n. b. you're absolutely right that the companies that operate in settlements inherently contribute to and benefit from serious rights abuses they get permits that are systematically denied to palestinians they operate on land stolen from palestinians they pay taxes that go back to entrenching settlements and they partake in a 2 tiered labor system legal slaver system and which palestinians are treated under military law and israelis under israeli civil law at the end of the day air b.n. b. was persuaded it did announce that it was going to stop listing in settlements in order to not contribute. to human suffering on the ground however they centrally
2:40 pm
got bullied into changing their opinion they were lawsuits filed against the us state said that they would take measures to ensure that their employees didn't use air b.n. b. site and air b.n. b. capitulated it didn't change its policy it just said we're not going to delist instead we're going to donate the profits from settlements elsewhere so they still acknowledge that their policy is contributing to suffering they just refuse to take the logical step that follows from that finding because like in the case of human rights watch here in israel and many others they faced pressure as a result of taking a principled decision just to be clear the. type of compromise that caribbean be tried to strike continuing listing those properties but pledging to. give all the proceeds to charity is that good enough in terms of not entrenching the injustice and not entrenching the occupation it's absolutely insufficient they're trying to
2:41 pm
wash their hands but they're not washing their hands because the un guiding principles on business and human rights makes it very clear you cannot contribute to rights abuse what air b.n. b. is still doing is brokering a rental on land stolen from palestinians who themselves can't stay there they're still doing that they're still facilitating a transaction by which somebody can stay in in the illegal settlement on land taken from palestinians who by military order can't enter the settlement so they're still making that transaction work yes they may not be getting a profits anymore from that transaction although they're still getting revenues from what they've stated but they're still contributing and allowing that action to take place of course it does not whitewash their involvement they're still being involved in very serious rights abuse he you mentioned a moment ago that neither you personally nor human rights watch as an organization supported the boy divestment and sanctions movement apart from considering boycotts in general. as
2:42 pm
a form of legitimate peaceful protest why you're not siding with the b.d.s. movement given that the your views on the legality and the ethics of deriving profits from the occupation seem to be quite similar because the reality is human rights watch is not a political organization we do not take positions on wars on occupations and on political movements that such as the boycott divestment sanctions movement which has certain political goals what we do is we tell governments and companies and other actors not to abuse rights and what decades of our research has shown is that any company that operates in a settlement invariably contributes to rights abuse so we tell companies don't engage in those activities don't operate in settlements if you want to adhere to international law but we don't tell consumers what to do whether or not to boycott that company and certainly we don't prescribe a political solution our objective here is to call for everybody to respect rights and it's quite clear you can't respect rights and do business in a settlement ok well mr shapiro we have to take
2:43 pm
a very short break now but we will be back in just a few moments stay tuned. for. what is due before we came here where did you work before you came here what is your live. death row in many u.s. states capital punishment is still practiced convicted prisoners can spend years waiting for execution but most of the time the victims' families they are very much in favor the death penalty there are some people because of what they do have given up their right to live among us some even proven innocent of 2 years on death row and how many more exonerations is it going to take before we as a society realize this is not working and we actually do something about.
2:44 pm
the accounting fraud at deutsche bank is only now just been revealed. that the tip of the iceberg this they're sitting on a half a quadrillion worth of worth close to rivet of that if the mark to market would would be greater than 5 times global g.d.p. this isn't in fact the beginning of lehmann 2.0. 3. welcome back to worlds apart with omar sheikh here israel and palestine director at
2:45 pm
human rights watch mr shake here as you mentioned before is really israel's supreme court has frozen the your expulsion order. you still have a couple of months to stay in israel but if you lose i you planning to you do your work from some other location or believe you have to find another special a specialized nation we will not let any government whether it be the egyptian the saudi the israeli the russian will not let any government dictate who covers human rights abuses for us and that country so even if i'm deported will continue to do the same work using the same tools covering the same subjects with the same intensity and vigor as we currently do of course not having access to israel and palestine will mean will hurt victims of human rights abuse that will lose access to a respected international rights group it will mean having less direct contact with affected governments including the israeli government but it won't change the way we work we're consistent. and unfortunately with israel we've been documenting
2:46 pm
rights abuses here for several decades we've always had access to 0 in the west bank but by taking this decision israel be joining the ranks of countries such as cuba venezuela. you know north korea some of the worst human rights abusers that we work on israel proclaims itself to be the one democracy in the middle east at the same time that we have offices and stuff working in places like tunisia jordan and lebanon so if the court does uphold the district court decision and the government goes forward with deportation it will be a sign of just how far this government has gone and disrespecting the most basic democratic norms now speaking about of your e.u. you personally israel is not the 1st country to try to kick you out if i'm not mistaken both the syrian and the egyptian governments have been quite unhappy with your work you just mentioned israel considers and actually prides itself on being
2:47 pm
the only democracy in the middle east how does the latest developments really seat with title that is mentioned that in almost every interview i have with the israeli officials that they are the only democracy in the middle east and therefore they should be allowed a little bit more than all the other countries whether it comes to human rights or odd policy issues look democracies do not deport human rights defenders over there peaceful expression democracies do not rule over millions of people for another people you know for decades on democracy is rule of the people not the rule of one people over another democracies do not compiled dossiers on human rights defenders in my case that dossier consisted of student group websites from when i was a student years ago petitions i signed tweets tweets i made the reality is there's been a series. this deterioration in the most basic. outlets of discussion in
2:48 pm
israel today i mean my case is not an isolated event it comes at a time in which israeli rights defenders are being accused of demeaning the state in the army for their advocacy at a time in which many other international rights advocates have been denied entry at the time to which the state has detained in some cases you know travel ban from travel palestinian rights defenders there is a larger context here in the context starts with the fact that israel has been occupying palestinians for 52 years and that occupation itself has deteriorated the most basic ideas of what a legitimate democratic government looks like inside of israel well i think this is actually a very important conversation because i come from a country with a very checkered human rights record and there are some political and also structural historic reasons for that but we are kind of used to the discourse that
2:49 pm
human rights violations out only. the demain of all of the autocratic regimes and i personally think that the main difference between democracies in the talkers is that the talker. have more leeway abusing their own people whereas democracies are more constrained domestically but they take it out on people in their countries is that too simplistic of a formulation because it's not just we are not only taking about talking about israel's treatment of palestine but for example a your own experience of working with gone bay detainees and the american treatment of iraqis in the iraqi prison they it's their record there is also quite questionable when you consider it from a democratic clades that's absolutely true i mean unfortunately i mean human rights watch works in nearly 100 countries across the world democracies and talk receives alike and unfortunately there are serious human rights abuses in both places you find similar types of things arbitrary arrest you mention that i worked in guantanamo i represented men. old for 14 years without trial or charge in you know
2:50 pm
prisons that were placed outside the united states so that they'd be outside the reach of the court systems at the same time we continue to document serious threats i covered in egypt where the government essentially ordered the mass killing nearly a 1000 people killed in the span of 12 hours in the obama sticker we also see of course the serious ongoing abuses committed by the assad regime with the support of the russians that continues to this day in syria so the reality is whether it's democracy is a talker sees something in between systematic human rights abuse or becoming the norm and it's becoming more the norm in an era of populism where world leaders are virtually defining themselves based on their antigun ism to universal values and that's a very mysterious eldredge that george w. bush didn't pre-treat himself as. as as a great populist and he had many of the human rights abuses that are already mentioned including the war in iraq and the treatment of guantanamo bay detainees
2:51 pm
happened under his watch don't you think that perhaps we are too quick to write everything off on populism beaches at a fairly recent phenomenon where is dab use of human rights by democratic countries is not you're absolutely right that us human rights abuse certainly predates trump i mean the work i did on guantanamo was under the obama presidency we've seen abuses you know of course under the bush administration and many others but i think what's dangerous about the current populism turn is that for example when the u.s. went to war war with iraq and when the human rights abuses and guantanamo and elsewhere happened there was virtually universal outrage among the international community and i think and today and same thing of course with israeli rights abuse where we've regularly seen consensus at the security council outside of the united states and israel and in the general assembly but in the current area for example we see hungary aligning itself with israel in opposing key votes on israel the general assembly or at the human rights council. we see other alliances that are in
2:52 pm
part driven by an ideological connection that for example netanyahu might see with the leader of the philippines or with our own brazil or with trump or with others i think it's certainly clear that human rights abuse predates the you know populist turn of the last decade but at the same time these kinds of alliances are really problematic when it comes to trying to build a universal consensus around issues that should be universal torture war crimes crimes against humanity the entire international legal system is contingent on the idea when serious rights abuse happens politics goes to the side and we unite together but whether it be the united states shielding israel or russia shielding syria we see universally abuse happens without sufficient international action but i wonder if we have every seen death official vision national action because. with over without. the philippine support that. israel has essentially been doing what
2:53 pm
it wants to do. amount of outcry has never prevented it from implementing its own domestic policies and this is what i want to ask you. regardless of whether you are allowed to stay in the country or not do you feel like your work still has an impact on actual impact on policies of israel in particular and the international community in general is there a practical result rather than simply generating you know a series of condemnations which is what the politics is all about i mean it's really goes into practical action you're absolutely right that international action in the face of israeli rights abuses not curb those abuses that's a reality but it's also failed to curb rights abuses and many other parts around the world but i think the human rights movement despite the obstacles faced i mean you're talking about one of the world's strongest militaries in israel supported by the global hedge amount of the united states. no amount of human rights groups or.
2:54 pm
on its own is going to be able to you know for example change the structure for rights abuse but i think the human rights movement and here i'm not talking about human rights watch i'm talking about you know palestinian israeli and other international groups has been critical for example and insisting on for example the rights that occupied palestinians have and raising the issues and we have seen changes israel used white phosphorous in 2008 that was well documented that weapon and stopping use in the arsenal we've seen for the 1st time the international criminal court has a preliminary examination over the last few years in the situation in israel palestine we see that the u.n. office of the high commissioner for human rights is compiling for the 1st time a database of businesses that operate in illegal settlements so we're starting of course to see some actions and i think what's clear is more is needed and you need the human rights groups that are on the ground documenting these abuses that are able to feed into important things that are happening on the global stage at the end of the day it's it's people in states that will change policies it's not civil
2:55 pm
society groups but i'm certain that change won't happen by people in states without civil society groups on the ground doing their part in raising awareness and documenting abuse now speaking about people and groups on the ground the u.n. now joining us from ramallah and i know that your previous research found that rivaled police fenian authorities in the west bank and gaza where are asking scores of critics for no on the violent expression how systematic are those violations they're quite systematic we just released another report late in may that found that for example and march of $29000.00 alone in the gaza strip hamas authorities detained $1000.00 people who protested their rule we found that in the span of 15 months between january 28th and march $21000.00 the palestinian authority just on 2 charges related to free expression detained over 1600 palestinians or has been see
2:56 pm
. systematic roundups of those who criticize palestinian authorities both in the west bank and gaza people who criticize and social media people who attend demonstrations critical journalists those detained face systematic torture and there is no accountability for those of uses so palestinians living under occupation only face systematic rights abuse by israel but face serious rights abuse by their own authorities that are supposed to of course not only respect their rights but advocate for ending the abuses they face from israel but in the end are complicit in the awful human rights situation on the ground today and of course the palestinian authorities are always very eager to highlight violations by israel's security forces but it's also no secret dad they often coordinate activities especially policing detentions and so on what's your take on this kind of coronation does it do more harm than good or vice versa perhaps nearly half the people we interviewed and we talked to them in the west bank about the tensions by
2:57 pm
the palestinian authority were also detained by israel so you face a dynamic where palestinians in the west bank are squeezed between 2 authorities who are both intolerant of dissent there was a recent news report that found that for example all palestinian authority security vehicles have g.p.s. trackers that are monitored by the israeli army that there were joint security exercises between security forces and settler militias in essence units of coordinated volunteers of settlers the reality is what's happening now is the palestinian authority has little actual authority they don't control checkpoints they have little actual autonomy on the ground but they've developed themselves into a police state operating in conjunction with the israeli army that's the reality 25 years after the also chords give rise to the palestinian authority well and have very grim reality indeed mr shapiro we have to leave it there but thank you very much for sharing your perspective and best of luck to. your appeal thank you for
2:58 pm
having me i'm inviting all our viewers to keep this conversation going our social media pages and hope to syria get on the same place same time here on worlds apart . we had. 3540 years old. in the water. some 30 fisherman. understood.
2:59 pm
and then to the me i should take another man almost on my feet and hurt the machine and. i believe that this is one part of the therapy is. a charm. obscene really harsh things that happen in life. it. was the obama was. that it was. i.
3:00 pm
was. isn't ruling out a strike against iran following a us drone being shot down in the strait of hormuz that further escalation comes as your makes a last ditch effort to save the iran nuclear deal. more than 1000000 questions and 10 in a q. and a last thing over 4 hours president vladimir putin has a from the russian public at the annual direct line the marathon session covered of raft of domestic and international challenges facing russia and its people. and the u.k. government suspends new arms sales to the side you have arabia after the court of appeals ruled that previous exports broke the law the case represents a significant victory for.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on