Israeli, Palestinian human rights groups receive Dutch award
An Israeli and a Palestinian human rights organization on Friday received Holland's prestigious Geuzen Medal in the city of Vlaardingen in the south-west Netherlands, dpa reported.
The Geuzen Medal award has been awarded yearly since 1987 by the Geuzen Resistance Foundation, which was established in memory of the Netherland's Guezen resistance group that fought the Nazis during World War II.
The prize is awarded to persons or institutions dedicated to advancing democracy and opposing tyranny, discrimination, and racism.
Israel's B'Tselem and the Palestinian Al-Haq, both of which are active in the field of human rights in Israel and the Palestinian territories, were awarded the prize together.
However, due to a travel ban imposed on Shawan Jabarin, the director of Al-Haq, the prize was accepted on behalf of both organizations by B'Tselem director Jessica Montell.
A last-minute petition by Shawan Jabarin to the Israeli high court of justice requesting to lift the travel ban imposed on him by Israeli authorities failed earlier this week.
"The satisfaction B'Tselem feels for the recognition given to the organization for its work, reflected in the award of this important prize, will not be complete as long as al-Haq, our partner in the struggle to realize universal human rights principles, is prohibited from sharing this occasion with us," Montell said.
Jabarin has been unable to leave the West Bank since Israel imposed a travel ban on him in 2006, claiming he poses a security risk to Israel.
The information based upon which the court made its decision has not been disclosed to Jabarin or his legal representatives.
Previous Guezen Medal winners have been UN peace mediator and former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, international rights group Human Rights Watch and Chinese dissident Harry Wu.