On August 2, Sunday, just days after the arbitrary arrest of prominent Palestinian BDS (Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions) activist Mahmoud Nawajaa by the Israeli occupation forces, an Israeli military court near Jenin extended his detention by 15 days. The court approved the request of Israeli domestic intelligence agency Shin Bet to hold Nawajaa further in detention. No specific reasons were provided for the extension, with activists claiming that due process of law was not followed. Nawajaa was illegally abducted from his home in Abu Qash village near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on July 30.
A well known BDS and human rights activist, Nawajaa has been serving in the role of general coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) for last several years. According to BDS’ official website, Nawajaa was handcuffed and blindfolded in front of his wife and three children in a night raid conducted by the Israeli forces. Before he was taken away, his family reportedly tried to resist the Israeli forces’ illegal action.
Denouncing the arrest and the court order against Nawajaa, BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti made a statement to urge the international community to exert pressure on Israel to secure the activist’s release. In his statement published on the BDS website, Barghouti says, “today’s hearing followed precisely the Israeli Shin Bet playbook of repression, which is reminiscent of apartheid South Africa’s. Without charges or a shred of evidence, they throw outrageous lies at Palestinian human rights defenders, like Mahmoud, to smear them and to make it easier for the rubber-stamp military courts to extend their detention, ill treatment and, often, cruel interrogation.”
Israel has systematically targeted the BDS movement since its inception 15 years ago. Various illegal, extrajudicial and excessive means have been employed to crush the non-violent and peaceful movement and penalize those who participate or sympathize with it. BDS was established to end the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and force Israel to comply with international law. The movement aims to extend equal political and civil rights to the millions of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. To achieve these aims, BDS works on building solidarity across the world, especially through tools such as peaceful boycotts. It also conducts campaigns directed at governments, companies, educational and civil society institutions to encourage them to withdraw investments in Israel, and to impose sanctions on Israel for its war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied Palestinian territories.