Palestinian food report upsets Israel

Israel has demanded that the United Nations reject a report which blames Israeli military measures for hunger among Palestinians.

    Palestinian children demonstrate against the Israeli military's restriction of food aid

    Israel's ambassador to the UN in Geneva accused the report's author, a UN special rapporteur on the right to food, of abusing his office, saying that he

     had not declared membership of a non-governmental organisation (NGO) critical of Israeli policy.

    In his report, drawn up after a visit in the summer authorised by Israel, Swiss professor Jean Ziegler warned that Israeli security measures were creating hunger and malnutrition in Palestinian areas.

    "The occupied Palestinian territories is on the verge of humanitarian catastrophe as a result of extremely harsh military measures," he said.

    'Politically biased'

    In a letter to UN Commission on Human Rights, Ambassador Yaakov Levy said Ziegler had told French television station LCI he was a member of the Alternative Information Centre, a Tel Aviv-based NGO, which the envoy called "politically biased".

    "The fact that Mr Ziegler is a member of such an organisation is in contradiction to the qualities of independence and impartiality necessary for the position of special rapporteur," Levy wrote in the letter, a copy of which was sent to news agencies.

    "I obey the rules. I am not withdrawing the report"

    Jean Ziegler,
    UN special rapporteur on the right to food

    "I expect that the relevant authorities will ask Mr Ziegler to withdraw his report and that the Commission will deem his report unfit for presentation to the Commission ... as well as for distribution as a UN document," he said.

    Ziegler had "abused" his position by giving press interviews criticising Israel, the ambassador added.

    Non-violence

    But Ziegler, a former socialist party member of the Swiss parliament, told the Reuters news agency that special investigators were allowed to be members of NGOs provided these were recognised by the UN and based in democratic countries.

    "I obey the rules. I am not withdrawing the report," he said, adding that the Alternative Information Centre was one of Israel's oldest NGOs and was committed to non-violence.

    Ziegler said he was also a member of numerous other NGOs, including Amnesty International. Commission chairwoman Najat Al-Hajjaji could not immediately be contacted for comment.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.