In an unprecedented move, Israel has denied an entry visa to Prof. Richard Falk, special rapporteur (envoy) of the United Nations Human Rights Council, and has declared he would be unwelcome in Israel.
Israel previously facilitated Dr. Falk’s visit to Israel in June 2008 in order to attend an academic event.
However, the Israeli government asserts that his “visit was abused by him for the purpose of presenting an imbalanced report before the Third Committee during the 63rd session of the U.N. General Assembly this year.”
In a statement issued by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “the mandate of this special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories is particularly biased and distorted: not only is it the only Human Rights Council mandate not to have been revised and modified since 1992, it also dictates pre-established conclusions to the report, regardless of any real inquiry and findings by the rapporteur… The mandate also ignores all human rights violations by Palestinians, either against Israelis or against other Palestinians. Thus, the rapporteur is prevented from considering, even if he wanted to, the issue of Human Rights violations by Palestinians”
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The statement went even further, with a scathing attack on Dr. Falk’s integrity, saying “beyond the imbalance inherent in his mandate, the bias is further exacerbated by the highly politicized views of the rapporteur himself, in legitimizing Hamas terrorism and drawing shameful comparisons to the Holocaust. In light of his vehement publications in the past, it is hard to square his appointment with the requirements of the council’s own internal procedures which call for the appointment of mandate holders who are impartial, objective and possess the quality of personal integrity.”
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.