Home / In the Media / AFP: Israel turns back senior UN official

AFP: Israel turns back senior UN official

To view original report, published by AFP on the 15th December, click here

Israel has turned back UN human rights envoy Richard Falk upon his arrival at Ben Gurion airport, authorities said on Monday, accusing him of “legitimizing Hamas terrorism.”

“Israel has made clear that Mr. Falk was not invited, nor would be welcome in Israel, under his capacity as special rapporteur” for human rights, the foreign ministry said.

Falk, who is the UN’s monitor of human rights in the Palestinian territories, last week prompted Israel’s ire when he said its policies against people in the territories amount to a “crime against humanity.”

UN officials said Falk was sent back to Zurich upon arrival at Ben Gurion, near Tel Aviv, on Sunday.

The Israeli ministry said Falk’s mandate is biased and that this is “further exacerbated by the highly politicized views of the rapporteur himself, in legitimizing Hamas terrorism and drawing shameful comparisons to the Holocaust.”

It also said Falk failed to follow procedures in arriving uninvited and while fully aware of “Israel’s clear reservation.”

On December 10, Falk called on the United Nations to make an “urgent effort” to “implement the agreed norm of a responsibility to protect’ a civilian population (in the Palestinian territories) being collectively punished by policies that amount to a crime against humanity.”

Israel has sealed off the Gaza Strip from all but basic goods since the Islamist movement Hamas, which is pledged to its destruction, seized power in June 2007 after routing forces loyal to Western-backed president Mahmud Abbas.