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Thread: Israel Expels U.N. Rights Envoy Who Compared Israelis To Nazis

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    Israel Expels U.N. Rights Envoy Who Compared Israelis To Nazis

    Israel expels UN rights envoy who compared Israelis to Nazis

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1046838.html

    By Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondent
    12/12/2008

    Professor Richard Falk, a United Nations envoy who once sparked controversy by comparing Israelis to Nazis, has been barred entry to Israel and was put on a plane bound out of the country early on Monday.

    In March, the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council appointed Falk, a Jewish American and professor emeritus at Princeton University, to a six-year term monitoring the human rights situation as UN Special Rapporteur in the Palestinian territories.

    Israel's Foreign Ministry said in September that it would not allow Falk to enter the country, after the BBC quoted Falk as defending statements he made last year equating Israel's treatment of Palestinians with Nazi treatment of Jews during the Holocaust. Falk told BBC that Israel had been unfairly shielded from international criticism.

    Israel has also complained that Falk's mandate as an investigator was confined to human rights violations by Israel toward Palestinians and did not encompass violations by Palestinians toward Israelis.

    Falk had been scheduled to hold meetings in Ramallah in the coming days with representatives of many human rights organizations.

    The Adalah rights organization Monday sent an urgent letter to Interior Minister Meir Shitreet and Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, demanding that they lift the ban on Falk, which it called "a severe blow to the rights of the Palestinian civilian population living under Israeli occupation, a population which must be afforded protection by the occupier under international humanitarian law.

    The letter said it was "Israel's obligation as a member of the UN and a signatory to various international human rights conventions to respect the work of UN representatives, to enable their human rights missions and to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities without fear of
    repercussions."

    Prior to Falk's formal assumption of his duties, Israel had in the past allowed Falk to enter the country. This was the first time he had arrived in Israel in his role as Special Rapporteur.

    The Foreign Ministry said that it has been made clear to Falk in advance that he would be denied entry into Israel, and that Israel would not cooperate with him.

    "Falk was not invited by Israel, nor did he coordinate the visit, as UN regulations obligated him to do," said Simona Helprin, head of the Foreign Ministry's human rights department.

    "It is indeed rare that Israel bars entry in this manner, but we cannot accept a situation in which an envoy arrives about whom it is known in advance that he will not carry out his role properly."

    According to Helprin, the UN is under an obligation to see that its envoys are objective and fair, while Falk has compared the situation in the territories with that of the Nazi Holocaust. "From Israel's standpoint, he is not objective," she said.

    The council's previous investigator, John Dugard from South Africa, compared Israeli treatment of Palestinians to apartheid, the discriminatory policy of the previous white regime in South Africa toward blacks.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Has Israel gone mad?

    http://www.examiner.com/x-2086-NY-Fo...srael-gone-mad

    12/16/2008

    The democratic nation of Israel is in the process of committing some grave errors. Could this be happening because there is no one "really" at the helm for the moment?

    UN Human Rights Envoy Richard Falk arrived in Israel last night, and after being detained at the airport, he was put on a return flight to Geneva. Tzipi Livni declared that "Falk is not welcome in Israel". This really gives tremendous credence to this UN Meeting of the Middle East Quartet doesn't it? And why?

    Well, Professor Falk has apparently criticized Israel on its human rights record with Palestinians. You'd think he was the first. What might have miffed Israel further is that he compared the situation in Gaza to Nazi atrocities, and called for re-opening the book on the 9/11 conspiracy theories. That must have put the proverbial nail in the coffin.

    However, this also comes on the heels of the famous "99" suggestions for Israel issued by the UN Human Rights Council on December 10th to improve the treatment of Israel's Palestinian citizens. There is no doubt since Mr. Falk was the person who accused Israel of crimes against humanity in Geneva, that he has been sent back to the original point of his departure.

    This is not the first time that Israel has refused entry to its detractors. While Jimmy Carter was allowed in the country in early spring 2008, the secret service refused to assist U.S. agents guarding the former president. In May of this year, Israel detained and deported Jewish-American academic Norman Finkelstein, an Israeli critic and author of "Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History," who voiced his support for Hezbollah.

    Jessica Montell, the executive director of Btselem, an Israeli group that monitors human rights in the occupied territories, said that even if Israel has “legitimate concerns about Professor Falk’s mandate,” barring his entry was “an act unbefitting of democracy.”

    By barring American Jews and other world leaders from its borders who may see legitimate reasons for concern, Israel may be shooting itself in the foot. And though it may not realize it, it is giving credence to the very claims it rejects as "unfounded" or "unfair".
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    UN rights chief slams Israel's expulsion of expert

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp...loz7w_oy3Axd7Q

    2 hours ago

    GENEVA (AFP) — The top United Nations human rights official on Tuesday condemned Israel's refusal to admit a UN special envoy into the country and called his expulsion "unprecedented" and "deeply regrettable".

    Israeli authorities said Monday they had turned back UN human rights envoy Richard Falk upon his arrival at Ben Gurion airport, accusing him of "legitimising Hamas terrorism."

    But the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said in a statement that "it is the responsibility of states to cooperate with the independent UN experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council."

    Israel's refusal to admit Falk, his detention and subsequent expulsion was "unprecedented and deeply regrettable," she added.

    Falk was denied entry to the country and was separated from two UN staff members accompanying him, and had his UN mobile phone confiscated, Pillay's office said in a statement.

    "He was kept in a detention facility at the airport, where he spent the night in a small room with several other people who were being denied entry into Israel."

    "In all, Mr. Falk spent more than 20 hours in the airport, before being deposited on a plane to Los Angeles," the statement said.

    It added that the Israeli authorities had given no indication they would not allow Falk into the country, until an email was sent on Saturday at 11:03 pm (2203 GMT) to a staff member of the Office of the High Commissioner in Geneva, who was not in a position to read it before leaving with Falk early Sunday for Israel.

    Pillay said she would raise the matter directly with the Israeli authorities, citing the "important principle" of cooperation with UN officials.

    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."

    The Israeli ministry said Falk's mandate is biased and that this is "further exacerbated by the highly politicised views of the rapporteur himself, in legitimising Hamas terrorism and drawing shameful comparisons to the Holocaust."

    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.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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