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Israel bans UN official over criticism - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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JERUSALEM (AP) – Israel expelled a U.N. human rights envoy on Monday because it perceives him to be severely biased against the Jewish state.

Richard Falk, the U.N Human Rights Council monitor for the Palestinian territories, has compared Israel to Nazi Germany and accused the Jewish state of crimes against humanity because of its treatment of Palestinians.

Falk was stopped at Ben-Gurion international airport after he landed on Sunday, at the recommendation of Israel’s foreign ministry. He spent the night in the airport and was put on a plane to the U.S. on Monday morning, said Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the U.N.’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Falk “does not try to advance human rights, but instead comes with his conclusions ready and those conclusions are of course extreme, methodic criticism of Israel and only of Israel,” ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

Falk, a former professor at Princeton University, could not be reached for comment Monday. An Interior Ministry spokeswoman, Sabine Haddad, said he had been told beforehand that he would be turned away if he arrived in Israel.

Israel has objected for years to what it perceives as anti-Israel bias by many U.N. bodies. Falk’s council has been widely criticized for putting much more emphasis on allegations of human rights abuses by Israel than on any other country.

Last year, Falk equated Israel’s treatment of Palestinians with Nazi persecution of Jews during the Holocaust, when 6 million Jews were killed. Israel later notified him he would not be granted an entry visa.

Falk was allowed to enter Israel in June to take part in an academic conference at a Palestinian university, but only because he did not enter on official business. Last week he called on the U.N. to pressure Israel to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip, which he called “a crime against humanity.”

Israel sealed its borders with Gaza to all but limited humanitarian aid after the militant group Hamas seized power last year. The blockade has been tightened since because of militant rocket fire from Gaza on southern Israeli communities, forcing Gazans to dig tunnels under their similarly sealed border with Egypt to smuggle in supplementary supplies.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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