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UN Rapporteur tells media it's time to change the language on Palestine

Professor Richard Falk has spoken to the media on some of the most pertinent issues relating to human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The UN Special Rapporteur for Palestinian Human Rights in the OPTs was speaking at a press briefing on Monday organised jointly by the Middle East Monitor (MEMO) and the charity Forward Thinking.

Prof. Falk covered many issues, including the importance of using more accurate language and terminology to describe the conflict. He noted that the language used by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for example, was designed to anaesthetise the illegality of the Jewish settlements and produce an acceptance of Israeli efforts to get more Jews into Jerusalem and expel the Palestinians. If accepted, Clinton's proposals would, he explained, leave the Palestinians with just 14% of historic Palestine.


The Special Rapporteur emphasised the importance of using language which reflects the reality of the situation on the ground, including the terms "ethnic cleansing", "apartheid" and "settler-colonisation".

According to Prof. Falk, in the context of the legitimacy war the language used must demonstrate an ability to hold the moral high ground, similar to the struggle against apartheid. He said that the approach should not be to identify Israel as a state similar to South Africa but rather to demonstrate that it has policies in which one race dominates and subjugates another with the instruments of the state.

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