Coalition Chairman and Likud MK David Bitan called on Friday, October 21, to strip B’Tselem Director Hagai El-Ad of his citizenship for appearing before the UN Security Council last week and calling for sanctions over West Bank settlements. Bitan told Channel 2 Friday that he’s weighing the possibility of taking legal action against El-Ad to strip him of his Israeli citizenship, saying his actions constituted a “flagrant breach of trust by an Israeli citizen against the state and therefore it’s appropriate for him to find other citizenship.”
During the UN Security Council session on the settlements, the B’Tselem director called on the council to take action after 49 years of Israeli occupation of the Palestinian West Bank. El-Ad said that the Israeli government had used the peace process to play for time to take over areas of the West Bank by building settlements. “After so many years, one has to draw certain conclusions… Israel will not cease being an oppressor simply by waking up one morning and realizing the brutality of its policies,” he told the Security Council. “So far the world refuses to take effective action… We need your help. The rights of the Palestinians must be realized; the occupation must end, the UN Security Council must act; the time is now.”
El-Ad sparked fury in far-right Israeli government last week, when he denounced the “invisible, bureaucratic daily violence” that dominates Palestinian life “from cradle to grave,” including Israeli control over entrance and exit from the territories, and farming rights.
B’Tselem responded to Bitan’s comments in a statement on Friday saying that “these threats won’t deter us and hundreds of thousands of Israelis who oppose the occupation.” … “For nearly 50 years Palestinians don’t have citizenship or rights. Now the coalition chairman, the messenger of the prime minister, wants to rescind the citizenship of those who speak out against this reality,” the organization said.