A Palestinian employee of human rights organisation Al-Haq, who serves as their permanent representative at the International Criminal Court (ICC) is receiving death threats from a potential state actor, it has been revealed.
According to a report in Dutch newspaper NRC, Nada Kiswanson – who is based in The Hague – has been receiving the threats for around six months. Kiswanson is there in the context of providing evidence related to possible Israeli war crimes in Palestine.
Because the threats relate to her work at the ICC, and citing the advanced techniques used by those sending the threats, the Dutch paper notes suspicions that the Israeli security services may be involved. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it did not wish to respond to such allegations.
The Dutch authorities are taking the issue very seriously, with the Foreign Affairs and Security and Justice ministries, as well as the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism all aware of the issue.
Amnesty International in The Netherlands has released a statement condemning the “constant death threats” and “intimidation” being received by Kiswanson. In a further twist, Amnesty revealed that “Nada Kiswanson and her family were threatened through the hacking of a personal email account of one of Amnesty’s senior staff members in The Netherlands.”
The Amnesty statement goes on to urge “the Dutch government, at the highest level, to publicly state that these grave threats, which may be international in origin, are unacceptable on Dutch territory.”
On Twitter, Amnesty International UK Campaigns Manager Kristyan Benedict said the threats were “designed to silence this Palestinian human rights NGO.”
Israeli officials have made no bones about the fact they view the possibility of an ICC investigation into war crimes committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory as a serious threat.
In 2014, a senior legal official at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned that the “challenge” of the ICC would be “potentially a very significant one”, describing the ICC as “a specific delegimitisation challenge that concerns us a great deal.”
‘Delegitimisation’ is a term often used by Israeli officials to refer to international campaigns for Palestinian human rights or accountability for violations of international law.