After a UN official requested to visit “Palestine”, Israeli officials explained to her that it is hard to visit a non-existing country – and denied her entry.
Israel has denied an entry request by Rashida Manjoo, a United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) investigator, after she asked for permission to visit “Palestine” and not Israel.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson is quoted by The Jerusalem Post as saying on Monday that the issue was the language of the request and the travel itinerary, which did not include a visit to Israel.
“The special investigator asked to visit ‘Palestine.’ We explained to her that there is no such country. Should she wish to visit the Palestinian Authority (PA) as part of a visit to Israel, that would be no problem,” Hirschson clarified.
“Israel has an excellent record of working with UN special investigators,” he added.
According to the UNHRC, the PA invited its special rapporteur on violence against women to visit the Palestinian territories in January explore issues regarding violence toward women.
Manjoo issued a statement on Friday in which she attacked Israel, while claiming to have had sought an entry visa from Israel for six weeks, with no success.
“Regrettably, I did not receive the necessary support, including a visa by the government of Israel, ahead of my travel,” Manjoo said in the statement.
“It is unfortunate that I have been denied the opportunity to engage directly with women survivors of violence, and that the exercise of my mandate has been hindered by the unwillingness of the government of Israel, as the occupying power, to facilitate access to the occupied Palestinian territory,” she said.
“My intention, as per practice during my country visits, was to support the Palestinian Authority to strengthen its capacity to protect and promote women’s rights and to meet its international human rights obligations,” Manjoo added.
She was reportedly slated to meet with PA officials, law enforcement agents, representatives of Palestinian civic society, and women survivors of violence “to obtain a “first-hand understanding” of violence against Palestinian women.
She also intended to visit prisoners, refugee camps, and women’s shelters.
Israel “An Occupier?”
“I remain interested in visiting the occupied Palestinian territory, and call on the government of Israel, as the occupying power, to facilitate access to the territory,” Manjoo demanded.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman stated in September that the UNHRC is a political body dominated by countries that are hostile to Israel and that violate human rights in their own countries on a regular basis.
“The Council’s biased treatment of Israel is only one manifestation of the return of the world’s oldest prejudices,” he declared, alluding to anti-Semitism.