Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, has been arrested by Israel on charges of tax evasion, according to Globes.
He was released on bail following questioning by authorities in Haifa, but is under a travel ban. However, Barghouti’s attorney has asked for leniency on the ban, because the BDS activist has two international trips scheduled in April, including one to receive a prize for his work with the anti-Israel campaign by the NGO “Promoting Enduring Peace.”
Barghouti, a resident of the Israeli coastal city of Acco, allegedly failed to report his income of some $700,000 in earnings between 2007 to 2017 while employed as director of the Palestinian Authority-based National Computing Resources in Ramallah. The company rents ATMs and other financial technology within the Palestinian Authority.
Israeli authorities have accused Barghouti of depositing the income in a Ramallah bank in order to hide it from Israeli tax authorities. Fees from a global speaking tour and royalties from book sales are also believed to have been deposited in a U.S. bank account for similar reasons.
A report by The Tower cited police as saying credit cards and transaction records found in Barghouti’s home support the accusations.
Born in Qatar, Barghouti is married to an Israeli Arab citizen, lives in Israel but calls himself a “Palestinian.” He holds permanent residency status in Israel, and earned a degree in philosophy at Tel Aviv University while agitating against the State of Israel.
The BDS campaign, launched in 2005, works to delegimitize Israel as a means of advancing the Palestinian Authority agenda. For many in the movement, it also is being used as a conduit for Israel’s ultimate annihilation.
Barghouti was quoted in 2004 as saying, “We are witnessing the rapid demise of Zionism, and nothing can be done to save it … I, for one, support euthanasia.” He also said Arabs living in the Palestinian Authority have a right to “resistance by any means, including armed resistance.”