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Israel bars UN Palestinian rights envoy after Holocaust comments

[JURIST] The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs [official website] announced Tuesday that it will not allow the new UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] envoy on Israeli human rights to enter either Israel or the Palestinian territories after he called current Israeli actions against Palestinians a "Holocaust in the making." In a Tuesday BBC interview, Richard Falk [academic profile], who is scheduled to begin his position as Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories in May, defended comments [text] made last year criticizing Israel for policies he said indiscriminately punished an entire group of people and comparing them to Nazi actions in World War II. Israeli officials accused Falk of bias and said that they will bar him from entering the country until a meeting scheduled for September. At the meeting, they plan to ask for an expansion of the investigator's powers that would allow the investigation of both Israeli and Palestinian human-rights violations. BBC News has more. AP has additional coverage.

In October, current Special Rapporteur John Dugard [academic profile] said that the UN must better address human rights violations committed in the Palestinian territories [JURIST report]. He has also previously criticized Israel's continued military presence in the region, comparing it to South African apartheid [JURIST report]. Dugard was appointed in 2001 as an independent expert by the now-defunct UN Commission on Human Rights to investigate Israeli rights violations. Israel and the US have dismissed his reports as one-sided.

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