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Israel turns away U.N. envoy

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel prevented a U.N. human rights envoy from entering the country.

Richard Falk, the U.N. Human Rights Council’s special rapporteur on Palestinian human rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, arrived Sunday with plans to compile his first report since assuming the position, which he plans to submit to the United Nations in March, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Falk was placed on an airplane back to the United States on Monday morning. The Foreign Ministry had told Falk ahead of his arrival that he would not be permitted to enter the country, according to reports.

Falk came to Israel in June, not in his official capacity, but as an academic attending a conference. During the visit he traveled to Ramallah and afterward filed a report with the United Nations that was critical of Israel. Last week, Falk accused Israel of committing crimes against humanity in Gaza.

Israel does not recognize Falk’s role as envoy, saying his mandate extends only to discovering Israel’s human rights against Palestinians and not Palestinian violations of Israelis’ human rights.

Israel has welcomed in the past three years the visits of seven special rapporteurs of the U.N. Human Rights Council, one special representative of the U.N. Secretary-General and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, according to the spokesman’s office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
 

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