UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon’s decision to reject a request by the families of Palestinian Prisoners being held in Israeli prisons to meet with them during a recent visit to the Gaza Strip has caused widespread anger. The families of the prisoners in turn expressed strong objection to Mr Moon visit accusing him of double standards, disparity and indifference in dealing with the issue of Palestinian prisoners.
The Centre for Human Rights convened a press conference in response to Mr Ki-Moon’s visit attended by a number of Palestinian lawyers, MP’s and independent parliamentarians and during which the Centre Director, Raji Sourani, stated that human rights institutions had sent Mr Moon a written letter in response to his decision.
Human Rights Organisations consider Mr Ki-Moon’s continued participation in the International Quartet as disregard for the requirements of international law and assert that it raises questions of possible collaboration in these violations. They also accuse Mr Ki-Moon of dragging his feet in efforts toward realizing Israeli accountability for the devastating war it launched against the Gaza Strip at the end of 2008. Following that war, Mr Ki-Moon asserted that he did not “intend to make further investigations into the war”; a stance human rights organisations contend is in contravention to his mandate as Secretary-General of the UN.
During his visit, Mr Ban Ki-Moon clarified that he would continue in his efforts and discussions with the Israelis to lift their siege on Gaza and explained that the UN rejected all violence between the two sides asserting that the future of the two people was the same. He also called for an end to illegal Israeli settlement expansion.