Pegasus: spyware used against six Palestinians, officials and activists

Audio 01:36

The Palestinian NGO al-Haq, specializing in the defense of human rights and based in Ramallah, is one of the organizations spied on by the Pegasus software.

AP - Majdi Mohammed

Text by: RFI Follow

3 min

New revelations around Pegasus: This time, it was the Israeli authorities who infiltrated the phones of six Palestinians with the spyware of the NSO group.

Those affected work for the Palestinian Foreign Ministry, others for human rights organizations.

Their phones have been examined by FrontLine Defenders, the investigating organization, Citizen Lab and Amnesty International.

In Ramallah, pending a full investigation, Israel-based parent company NSO is accused.

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With our correspondent in Ramallah,

Alice Froussard

It all started with suspicions.

The phone of one of al-Haq's employees was making calls that its owner had never made.

The research is launched, extended;

they show that six phones are infiltrated by Pegasus spyware.

That of Ubai al-Abudeh, director of the Bisan center, one of the organizations recently designated "terrorists" by Israel, is one of them.

According to the

FrontLine report

, all six phones were hacked before the Jewish state added these NGOs to its blacklist. 

Yes, we are in danger, and we do not say it lightly," he

insists.

They can play with my data, they can manipulate it, they can download whatever they want to my phone, they can go to any site and say I was the one who looked at them, it's that kind madness

! It is a total violation of my privacy, a total violation of my rights and it endangers everyone we have worked with, whether diplomats, activists, Palestinians or internationals. . And it is systematic. I am also a father, I have three very young children. And it's really scary for us as a family.

 "

Front Line Defenders timeline of events in relation to the #PegasusSpyware hack on 6 #Palestinian human rights defenders: # IStandWithThe6



Full report here: https: //t.co/HjdstqgTm1 pic.twitter.com/MtLlDEi4XX

- Front Line Defenders (@FrontLineHRD) November 8, 2021

"I will file a complaint in France"

Gathered in a press conference, the concerned insist on the need for an investigation, " 

perhaps by the United Nations

 ", specifies Sahar Francis, director of Adameer.

The phone of his colleague, Salah Hamouri, a Franco-Palestinian lawyer, whose Jerusalem residency status Israel revoked in mid-October, has been infiltrated since last April.

We felt, we saw suspicious stuff in our phones,"

says the lawyer.

Numbers which call us, but which in reality do not call us. We did the tests that needed to be done. On the day we found out, the phone was totally in use by another person. We, until now, can not say exactly who it is. The company is known to have offices in Herzliya, Israel. We know that after discovering this, we have to be careful.

 " 

Salah Hamouri alludes to the NSO company.

A company that the United States has

placed on its list of companies threatening national security

because of its Pegasus software, which can retrieve messages, photos, contacts, and remotely activate the microphones of a smartphone.

 To read also: Pegasus, the involvement of the Israeli government in question

"Everything is monitored"

We are looking for who has the interest, who has the possibilities to use this system,"

continues Salah Hamouri.

I will file a complaint in France against the people who will be responsible, against the main company which is responsible, to force them to stop this kind of espionage and to stop following human rights defenders.

 "

Via his phone, he was in contact with the Élysée, the Quai d'Orsay, the French consulate in Jerusalem, his lawyers, his family.

“ 

Everything is monitored,

 ” he concludes.

► 

To listen: "These software are used to monitor the population at large"

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  • Israel

  • Palestinian territories

  • Pegasus

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