Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian territories Michael Lynk has been slammed by Israeli ambassador to the UN after he urged for economic and travel sanctions to be enforced on the occupying state to force it to withdraw from the West Bank, according to the Times of Israel.
During a press briefing at the UN Human Rights Council yesterday, Lynk cited a report he released on the situation of the Palestinians earlier this week, calling for the international community to increase pressure on Israel
“Israel is very dependent upon trade with the outside world,” he said in response to a question on whether sanctions could affect Israel.
If there was an understanding that all of a sudden Israelis wanting to travel abroad needed to have visas, if all of a sudden there was an understanding that Israel wasn’t going to get preferential trading agreements with the EU. If all of a sudden, the many and multitude forms of military or economic cooperation or academic cooperation with Israel were now going to come to an end … I think you’d begin to see a sea-change in the attitude of ordinary Israelis and in the attitude of the Israeli government.
His statements were subsequently denounced by Israeli envoy Danny Danon who claimed that Lynk was advocating for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
“Mr Lynk is exploiting his position to spread hateful incitement against the State of Israel and is acting as a BDS activist under the auspices of the UN,” Danon insisted.
Lynk also spoke of the Israeli blockade on Gaza, insisting that the Strip “remains occupied”; another statement that was condemned by the Israeli delegation
“The UN Human Rights Council has lost its legitimacy as it focuses obsessively on attacking Israel instead of working on resolving the real human rights problems plaguing the world,” Danon claimed.
Israel and the UN have been at loggerheads in recent months, as the global institution has criticised the actions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government for international law violations in the occupied territories and the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
Yesterday it was also revealed that up to 190 companies could find themselves on the UN blacklist after the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Bin Ra’ad Al-Hussein, sent warning letters to the corporations for operating in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley; areas occupied under international law. Israel and the US have previously threatened to cut funding to the UN Human Rights Council if it goes ahead with its plan to publish the list.
Earlier this month, the US and Israel announced their planned departure from the UN’s cultural branch UNESCO over perceived anti-Israel resolutions. UNESCO head Irina Bokova responded to the news saying that the withdrawal was a matter of “profound regret”.