The U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has urged Israel to not deport an Anadolu Agency (AA) photojournalist.
In a written statement late Wednesday the U.N. office accused the Israeli authorities of attempting to deport photojournalist Mustafa al-Kharouf to Jordan on the night of July 21 and July 22. Al-Kharouf does not have any residency rights there and the attempt was rejected by Jordan.
"The effort by Israeli authorities to deport Mr. al-Kharouf to Jordan, where he has never lived and does not have any legal residency rights, raises serious concerns under both international humanitarian law and international human rights law," said Michael Lynk, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Palestine, in the statement.
The statement added that Kharouf has previously been questioned about the nature of his work as a photojournalist.
David Kaye, the special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, added in the statement that "the detention and deportation of al-Kharouf directly interfere with al-Kharouf's legitimate exercise of rights to freedom of o
pinion and expression as a photojournalist."
The statement said both rapporteurs urged Israel not to arbitrarily deprive al-Kharouf of his liberty, but instead ensure that his rights to freedom of opinion and expression are protected.
Al-Kharouf, 32, was detained by Israeli police in east Jerusalem in January and held in prison in advance of his planned deportation to Jordan.
Israeli authorities said al-Kharouf, who has lived in Jerusalem with his family since he was 12, was born in Algeria.
For the last 20 years, Israeli authorities have consistently refused to grant al-Kharouf a long-term residency permit, forcing him to obtain fresh tourist visas each year.
While al-Kharouf holds a Jordanian passport that allows him to travel to neighboring Arab states, it does not give him citizenship or residency rights in Jordan. Al-Kharouf has worked for AA as a photojournalist since last August.
The 1967 Arab-Israeli War, also known as the Six-Day War, resulted in Israel's occupation of the West Bank, east Jerusalem, Gaza and Syria's Golan Heights, triggering the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Syrians. Under international law, the territories captured by Israel in the war are regarded as occupied territory.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has proven one of the most intractable in modern history, causing massive human suffering and economic deprivation.