Israeli human rights group honored


WASHINGTON (JTA) — An Israeli human rights group won a freedom award from a U.S. academic society.

Gisha, which advocates for greater freedom of movement for Palestinians, won the Middle East Studies Association’s Freedom Award for its efforts to get Israeli authorities to allow Palestinian students in the Gaza Strip to leave to study abroad.

Israel has imposed a closure on Gaza since June 2007, when Hamas terrorists assumed control.

In its citation Sunday, the association recognized Gisha’s "courageous and principled representation of Palestinian students in Israeli administrative proceedings and courts in support of those students’ rights to education and freedom of movement."

Previous MESA Freedom Award winners include Saad Eddin Ibrahim, an Egyptian human rights activist now in exile, as well as other advocates for students’ rights in Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran.

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