Palestine Sues Israeli Authorities Over Pegasus, "Israel" Lobbies Against NSO Ban
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry states that it is suing the Israeli occupation for spying on ministry employees, while the Israeli government actively lobbies to reverse Biden's decision to ban the NSO spyware company.
The Foreign Ministry of the Palestinian Authority announced that it is taking the necessary steps to prosecute the Israeli occupation for using Pegasus spyware to hack the phones of ministry personnel, spying on them through the Israeli NSO's software.
In a statement published on Wednesday, the ministry said it is legally prosecuting the Israeli occupation over "the crime of hacking ministry employees' and civil society institutions phones," stressing that using the Pegasus spyware in these operations counts as a flagrant violation of international law and human rights.
The statement continues, "We expected that our phones would be infiltrated by occupation authorities and that there is full surveillance on everything that we say or send, but this time, we have evidence and legal documentation that prove this violation."
The ministry is studying all of the available options that should be followed to inspect the violative practices of the Israeli government and hold it accountable for breaching "all regulations, laws, rights and privacy of the Palestinian people."
The ministry clarified that it is piecing together a file for the crime-level case to submit to international criminal courts and institutions.
Furthermore, the ministry called on the international community, its institutions and companies to boycott parties involved in espionage scandals, and called on collective efforts to hold the spyware accountable, and to bring the matter to international justice.
This statement comes after an investigation by Amnesty International, Citizen Lab and Front Line Defenders concluded that the phones of at least 6 Palestinians were hacked, 3 of them work for organizations deemed "terrorist" by the Israeli government.
After media reports emerged about Pegasus' usage in various spyware attacks on heads of states, journalists, political activists, and human rights activists, the US decided to blacklist the Israeli NSO, Pegasus' parent company.
Pegasus has also "enabled foreign governments to conduct translational repression, which is the practice of authoritarian governments targeting dissidents, journalists, and activists outside of their sovereign borders to silence dissent," the US Commerce Department said in a statement.
Lobbies to reverse blacklisting
According to the New York Times, "Israel" is lobbying to reverse the blacklisting of the NSO group. The Biden administration sanctioned the company, blocking any US business from doing business with NSO.
The CEO of NSO, Shalev Hulio, wrote a letter to Israeli PM Naftali Bennett, where he claimed that the company was being targeted for "political reasons," calling those involved in the campaign "anti-'Israel'," according to Israeli news agency Walla. The letter was sent out to Security minister Benny Gantz, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
The letter said that the blacklisting will "damage" and "hurt" the organization's 'reputation' and that scores of employees will be fired.
In addition, the Israeli government's intervention "would be a basic condition" for reversing Biden's ban.