Creating new perspectives since 2009

'Moral cowardice': UN special rapporteur slams Israel's visa threat to staffers

December 26, 2023 at 2:10 pm

Francesca Albanese (C), delivers a speech during the UN Forum on the Question of Palestine at the United Nations Trusteeship Council Chamber in New York, United States on May 18, 2018 [Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]

The UN special rapporteur on Palestine slammed Tuesday Israel’s decision to deny visa to UN staff, saying “baseless attacks” on the organization prove “moral cowardice”, Anadolu Agency reports.

Without freedom for all, there will be freedom for none

She added, and called for a cease-fire in Gaza, release of Israeli hostages and arbitrarily detained Palestinians, reconstruction and end of occupation of Palestinian territories.

Cohen had said, “We will no longer remain silent in the face of the UN’s hypocrisy!” and that he instructed the Foreign Ministry “not to extend the visa of one of the organization’s employees in Israel, and to deny the visa request of another employee.”

The conduct of the UN since 7 October, he said, is a “disgrace to the organization and the international community” and that “We will stop working with those who cooperate with the Hamas terrorist organization’s propaganda.”

Cohen accused UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who has criticized Hamas but said the October attack did not happen in a vacuum, for legitimizing “war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

He said the UN human rights commissioner “publishes unsubstantiated blood libels,” and called UN Women “an organization that for two months ignored the acts of rape committed against Israeli women.”

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on 7 October, killing more than 20,700 people, including UN staffers. It has attacked hospitals, UN schools as well as refugee camps and has justified its actions saying they were used by Hamas.

Around 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.

Human rights organizations have slammed Israel for its war tactics, calling it “collective punishment” of Gaza’s 2.3 million people. ​

READ: UN refugee agency says 142 employees killed in Gaza since 7 October