Monday, December 15, 2008

Israel expels UN rights envoy

Dec 15, 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. (Continues here)


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