Israel's controversial separation barrier is seen dividing the West Bank town of Abu Dis (foreground) from Jerusalem on February 24, 2017. AFP / THOMAS COEX
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Israel has denied a work permit to a Human Rights Watch researcher, accusing the group of serving as Palestinian propagandists in a move the U.S.-based organization called an "ominous turn". The New York-based watchdog, which has written critical reports about the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, applied months ago for a visa for its Israel and Palestine director, American citizen Omar Shakir.The news emerged as Israel faced criticism from the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva over the 18-month jail sentence handed to an Israeli soldier who shot an incapacitated Palestinian attacker in the head.The organization had been granted unimpeded access to Israel and the occupied West Bank for three decades.The U.S. State Department said it strongly disagreed with Israel's characterization of HRW, which it considers a credible human rights organization.Israel also dismissed the U.N. council's criticism of the Palestinian's killing.
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