Cablegate: Un Rapporteur Falk Denied Entry Into Israel
DE RUEHTV #2799/01 3501144
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 151144Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9600
INFO RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 1007
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7823
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 0605
UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002799
E.O. 12958: DECL: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KWBG UN IS
SUBJECT: UN Rapporteur Falk Denied Entry Into Israel
1. (U) On the night of December 14, Israel denied entry at Ben
Gurion airport to AmCit Richard Falk. Falk, who was attempting to
enter on his U.S. tourist passport, is the UN Human Rights
CommitteeQs Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in
the Palestinian Territories Occupied Since 1967. Israeli officials
have iQormed the Embassy that their decision to deny entry to Falk
was based on the fact that Israel believed the intention of his
visit to be official UN business inconsistent with a tourist visa.
His detention overnight at Ben Gurion before being returned to the
United States will be reported to CA septel.
2. (SBU) Eviatar Manor, MFA Deputy Director General for
International Organizations (A/S IO equivalent) told A/DCM on
December 15 that the final decision to deny Falk entry was made
December 13 by MFA IO Division in consultation with the North
America Division and IsraelQs mission in Geneva. Manor said the
Israeli Mission in Geneva informed the UNHRC on December 11 that
Falk would not be granted a visa on either his UN Laissez-Passer or
his U.S. passport. Manor said that based on this information, the
GOI assumed Falk was aware that he would not be admitted if he
arrived in Israel.
3. (SBU) According to Manor, the decision to deny entry was based
on FalkQs stated views, his Human Rights Committee mandate, and his
actions following his last visit to Israel in June/July 2008.
During that visit, Manor said that Falk arranged with the Israeli
government to enter on his U.S. tourist passport solely to speak at
a West Bank University and not in his official UN capacity.
However, after returning to New York, Falk made a report to the
Human Rights Committee based on his visit. Manor commented that the
MFA felt that Falk had abused the agreement whereby he was permitted
to enter Israel and the West Bank. NOTE: Falk made a report to the
Third Committee of the 63rd General Assembly during its meetings on
September 22nd and 23rd mQtings. In his report, he said that the
information in his report Qrelied on the best available open
sources, as well as on observations gathered during a private visit
to Israel in July 2008, which included a short trip to Ramallah, as
well as nearby Israeli settlements.
4. (SBU) COMMENT: Richard Falk has frequently stirred controversy
as an author, academic, and member of the UN Human Rights Inquiry
Commission for the Palestinian territories in 2001. He has compared
the State of Israel to Nazi Germany, said that Israel has Qgenocidal
tendenciesQ and is approaching a holocaust of the Palestinian
people, and publicly supported the Palestinian Qright of
resistance.Q Israel has interpreted his support of the Qright of
resistanceQ to mean he is in favor of terror against civilians,
since the Arabic version of this phrase, QHaqq al-Muqawama,Q is a
commonly used euphemism in Arabic for terrorist attacks, although
Falk has denied that he intended to convey support for terrorist
attacks. END COMMENT.
5. (U) Also on December 15, the MFA passed a white paper to Embassy
officials with their official explanation. Please see full text
As part of Israel's well established policy of constructive
engagement in international scrutiny and dialogue, and its
cooperation with various international mechanisms, Israel has
welcomed in the past 3 years the visits of seven special rapporteurs
of the UN Human Rights Council, one special representative of the UN
Secretary General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
However, in the case of Prof. Falk, beyond the imbalance inherent in
his mandate, the bias is further exacerbated by the highly
politicized views of the Rapporteur himself, in legitimizing Hamas
terrorism and drawing shameful comparisons to the Holocaust . In
light of his vehement publications in the past, it is hard to square
his appointment with the requirements of the Council's own internal
procedures which call for the appointment of mandate holders who are
impartial, objective and possess the quality of personal integrity.
Hence, Israel has made clear, that Mr. Falk was not invited, nor
would be welcome in Israel, under his capacity as special
rapporteur. Notwithstanding Israel's reservation, it has
nevertheless facilitated Mr. Falk's visit to Israel in June 2008
under his personQcapacity, in order to attend an academic event.
However, this visit was abused by him for the purpose of presenting
an imbalanced report before the Third Committee during the 63rd
session of the UN General Assembly this year.
Mr. Falk's recent attempt to arrive uninvited under his capacity as
special rapporteur, fully aware of Israel's clear reservation,
stands in marked contrast to the Manual of Operations of the Special
Procedures of the Human Rights Council, adopted in June 2008, which
stresses the necessity of consent and coordination with the state
concerned, and was therefore denied.