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Israel denies entry of UN human rights envoy
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09:00, December 16, 2008

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Israel on Monday shut its door to a UN Human Rights Council Rapporteur who once compared Israelis to Nazis, local daily Ha'aretz reported.

Richard Falk, who used to be allowed into the Jewish state, was put on an outbound plane hours after he arrived at Israel, said the report, noting that this was his first visit to the country in the new role he received in March to monitor the human rights situation in the Palestinian territories.

Israel's Foreign Ministry has made clear to the Jewish American in advance that he would be denied entry to Israel and that Israel would not cooperate with him, added the report, quoting Simona Helprin, head of the ministry's human rights department, as saying that "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."

The professor emeritus with Princeton University infuriated Israel last year when he equated Israel's treatment of the Palestinians with the Nazis' treatment of Jews during the Holocaust.

Earlier this year, Falk defended his controversial remarks in an interview with the BBC, prompting Israel's Foreign Ministry to give a red light for his future entry.

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, according to the report.

The UN human rights envoy, who last week accused Israel of committing a crime against humanity with its policies over the Gaza Strip, had been expected to hold meetings with representatives of some human rights organizations in the West Bank city of Ramallah in the coming days.


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