The real reason must be his prominent role in the international movements in the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign, one of the only fronts of Palestinian strategy Israel actually fears.
Israel runs circles around Palestinian negotiators who think they are the most clever bargainers in the souk, so ingenious they think they will end the Israeli occupation by the sheer force of their combination of guile and strategic butt-kissing. Israel also swats violent resistance down with flies (using grenades of course).
But this BDS movement is most definitely their biggest challenge, it is a powerful idea with a powerful precedent (South Africa) and being forwarded by no central group with a headquarters it can bomb. It is a plan of action being enacted by students, cultural workers, unionists, churches, progressive governments and sports fans around the world. And there is no amount of hasbara, or Israeli propaganda, that can stop this. The obviousness of Israeli transgressions against the norms of decency and fairness are too grave. This is a campaign they cannot bomb away, or smoke away in back rooms.
In detaining Mr Othman on his return from Norway, where he was promoting a BDS campaign, Israel has resorted to its usual brand of thuggery. Too many around the world are now being invested in BDS to let Israel’s brutishness have effect. This will only elevate Othman’s visibility and further demonstrate the validity of the BDS campaign, not only as efficacious, but also based on an accurate and telling reading of the nature of Israeli domination over Palestinian life.
While I am sure they will try every means to silence Othman, including threatening his family, bribery, cooked up charges or other corrupt modes of oppressive management, Palestinians, and their supporters, will more quickly realize this call for BDS the only path forward. The harder Israel pushes, the harder we will push back.