JERUSALEM, April 3, 2017 (WAFA) – Israel is blocking access of human rights workers into and from the Gaza Strip, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report released Monday.
It accused the Israeli military authorities of systematically barring human rights workers from traveling into and out of Gaza, which is under the control of Hamas.
The 47-page report, “Unwilling or Unable: Israeli Restrictions on Travel to and from Gaza for Human Rights Workers,” documents these restrictions and warns that the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor’s office should take note of the restrictions in the context of its ongoing preliminary examination of Palestinian complaints of Israeli war crimes in Gaza during its latest war.
“If Israel wants the ICC prosecutor to take seriously its argument that its criminal investigations are adequate, a good first step would be to allow human rights researchers to bring relevant information to light,” said Sari Bashi, Israel and Palestine advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “Impeding the work of human rights groups raises questions not just about the willingness of Israel’s military authorities to conduct genuine investigations, but also their ability to do so.”
HRW said it has only once since 2008 received permission to get foreign staff into Gaza via Israel during a September 2016 visit that the Israeli authorities characterized as exceptional.