Israel Blocks UN Special Rapporteur from Entering the Occupied Palestinian Terrorities of the West Bank and East Jerusalem
On Thursday, September 25th, 2014, Al Jazeera reported on a story related to Israel and the United Nations Human Rights Commission. According to the report, the new United Nations Special Rapporteur Makarim Wibisono was supposed to examine human rights conditions in Occupied Palestinian Territories. However, he cannot do his job, since Israel has not allowed access to the West Bank, or to East Jerusalem. As Al Jazeera explains, “As Special Rapporteur, Wibisono acts as an independent, unpaid inquirer, charged with investigating allegations of human rights violations in the blockaded Gaza Strip, occupied West Bank, and annexed East Jerusalem. The Special Rapporteur reports to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) based in Geneva.”
Such actions are not new by Israeli government. In fact, the previous Special Rapporteur Richard Falk was also denied access to Palestinian areas. But in his case, not only was he detained by the Israeli government, but he was actually “expelled in 2008, in a move that the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, Navi Pillay, called “unprecedented”” (Al Jazeera, 2014).
Israeli continues to avoid full cooperation with the United Nations and other human rights organizations. Individuals from human rights organizations are saying that rights violations have increased. For example, the article quotes Bill Van Esveld, who works for Human Rights Watch. Van Esveld was quoted in the article as saying that from the point of Israel’s recent actions in Gaza, the “operation included hundreds of apparently arbitrary arrests… Israeli forces’ use of excessive and lethal force at protests… Punitive demolitions of the family homes of three suspects in the kidnappings which constitutes prohibited collective punishment, excessive blanket restrictions on movement, [and] the seizure or destruction of other property without due process”.
The Israeli government continues to not fully work with those who are attempting to document all that is happening in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. In fact, Israel has continued to build settlements on occupied land, even following the many killed in Gaza.
Such reports continue to suggest that some members of the Israeli government do not place Palestinian rights at the forefront of their policies. Let us hope that Special Rapporteur Wibisono will be able to enter into the Occupied Palestinian Territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and begin to document rights abused that have taken place against Palestinians.