Jerusalem24 – Thursday, the Israeli newspaper Maariv quoted Likud MK Avi Dichter who said that the government decided to withdraw the entry permit, which it had granted to Palestinian artist Muhammad Assaf, for “incitement”. The decision to withdraw the entry permit from Assaf came “following the disclosure of videos calling for struggle against Israel.”
Assaf, who has roots in the Gaza Strip, obtained the permit as a youth ambassador to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). UNRWA did not comment on the Israeli decision. The newspaper pointed out that the decision “came after several months, during which the Badin Center for Middle East Studies worked to expose Muhammad Assaf’s activities.”
Dichter indicated that Assaf would be prevented from passing from the Palestinian territories to Israel.
“Although Israel cannot prevent Assaf from entering the West Bank, because he holds Palestinian citizenship, the state is working with UNRWA to stop Assaf’s activities in the international agency,” he said. For years Assaf has resided in the United Arab Emirates where he performed in several concerts. To which Dichter said the Israeli government is studying the possibility of working with the United Arab Emirates in order to see how Assaf can be prevented from working in the country.
Israel does not allow Palestinian residents of Gaza and the West Bank to enter it except after obtaining special permits.But Assaf’s representation of the United Nations qualifies him to obtain diplomatic status, which allows him to move freely.