A Palestinian whom Israel’s Supreme Court has described as a “Jekyll and Hyde” of international terrorism has been appointed by Human Rights Watch (HRW) to its advisory board that oversees the sensitive reporting on Arab-Israeli affairs.In fact, Jabarin was arrested by Israel in 1994 for heading the PFLP - while he was already working for Al Haq.
The man at the center of the dispute, Shawan Jabarin, runs the human rights organization Al Haq in Ramallah on the occupied West Bank. In 1985 he belonged to a Birzeit University student group associated with the PFLP, indicted as a terror group, by 30 countries including the U.S., the European Union, and Canada. He was convicted of recruiting members for terrorist training outside Israel and served nine months of a 24-month jail sentence.
After he had served his time in jail, Jabarin was engaged as a field worker by Al Haq. He rose to become Director General in 2006 and has been nominated for several international awards but Israel in 1999 banned him from international travel. Jordan, also, has refused him entry on grounds of security. On Al Haq website Jabarin said he had lost track of the number of times he’d been arrested and detained. He estimated that he’d spent a cumulative eight years in administrative detention and claimed to have been beaten on numerous occasions.
In its 2007 judgment, the Supreme Court found that alongside activity in Al Haq, Jabarin was also a senior figure in the Popular Front terrorist organization: “This petitioner is apparently active as a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In part of his activities, he is the director of a human rights organization, and in another part he is an activist in a terrorist organization which does not shy away from acts of murder and attempted murder which have nothing to do with rights, and on the contrary deny the most basic of all human rights, the most fundamental of fundamental right, without which there are no other rights—the right to life.”
Jabarin petitioned the court again in 2008. The court said it could understand the frustration of Jabarin’s lawyers in not being able to see the intelligence against him, but explained that the judges’ own examination of the classified material had led them to two conclusions: “First, that it is reliable information according to which the petitioner is among the senior activists of the Popular Front terrorist organization; second, the divulging of this material to the petitioner involves the exposure of important sources of information, and thus certain harm to national security.”
The Court examined the case a third time in March 2009. It reported that it had twice tried to find “a creative solution” that gave Jabarin some limited freedom of movement but concluded: “We found that the material pointing to the petitioner’s involvement in the activity of terrorist entities is concrete and reliable material. We also found that additional negative material concerning the petitioner has been added even after his previous petition was rejected.”
The judgment emphasized that the ban was not “punishment” for forbidden activity but “due to relevant security considerations.”
Calls over several days to [HRW's Sarah Leah] Whiston were not returned. In a telephone conversation, [HRW's Ken] Roth at first said it was “not true” that Jabarin had been a member of PFLP, then added: “And if he had been, it’s ancient history.” He would not discuss the Supreme Court judgments. In an email, Roth defended the appointment saying Jabarin had had no association with the PFLP or any other political organization since joining the staff of Al Haq in 1987.
And in 2003, Israel allowed Jabarin to travel to Jordan - and Jordan refused to let him in because of his terror record.
Al Haq is hardly an unbiased "human rights" organization either. It engages in "lawfare" against Israel. One of the papers on its website justifies terrorism as legal:
[R]esistance against occupation and its arbitrary practices is legitimate under international law, and these acts are considered a part of the Palestinian people‘s resistance and struggle against occupation in order to achieve their right to liberation and independence, the occupation forces call it “terrorism”...
So not only is HRW trying to appoint a terrorist who has been shown to be a credible current threat by Israel's Supreme Court, but they are using his service to a "human rights" organization that supports terror as their main proof that he is not a terrorist!
No wonder that HRW's founder, Robert Bernstein, said, "I am of course shocked but even more saddened that an organization dedicated to the rule of law seems to be deliberately undermining it."
(h/t Alex and Zach)