Yousef Alhelou reports on Middle East Monitor:
Israel has banned Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf from entering the occupied Palestinian territories, namely the West Bank where the Palestinian Authority is based in Ramallah. Assaf won the “Arab Idol” singing contest in 2013.
According to Knesset Member Avi Dichter of the Likud Party — he is a former Minister of Internal Security and director of Shin Bet — the Israeli government decided to revoke Assaf’s permit which enables him to travel freely to the occupied West Bank. The Israelis have complete control over who enters or leaves the Palestinian territory. The pretext is that Assaf is alleged to incite people against Israel, including the encouragement of terrorist activity, praising Palestinian martyrs and calling for an armed struggle against the state.
Assaf, who grew in Khan Younis town in the southern Gaza strip, acquired the permit from the Israeli occupation authorities after he was named as the Ambassador of Youth and Peace by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the same year that he won the contest. UNRWA provides essential services to millions of Palestinian refugees in the occupied Palestinian territories, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
The revocation of his permit comes after several months in which the Badin Centre for Middle East Studies has been digging deep into Assaf’s old video clips to expose his “incitement activities” in order to tarnish his image as a person who incites for violence not peace! The centre published a 51-second video from before he became popular performing “Alli El-Kufieyh” (“Raise the kuffiyeh”) at an UNRWA-run school in Gaza. It’s fairly obvious that the move against Assaf is intended to put pressure on UNRWA to strip him of the Youth Ambassador role. Or perhaps the song’s title is just too annoying for Israelis.