Michael Lynk, the U.N.’s special representative on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, said that human–rights defenders in the region face scorn, and he accused Israel of trying to delegitimize their work. The issue will be addressed in his next report, he said.
In response, Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon called Lynk’s comment offensive and said it “shows the immense damage done by Israeli organizations that defame us in front of the international community.” Danon was referring to a speech given recently by an Israeli NGO spokesman at the U.N.
“The fact that the Israeli government threatened to revoke the citizenship of the executive director of B’Tselem is a particularly worrying path for Israel to wind up taking,” Lynk said, referring to the rights group’s appearance before the Security Council earlier this month.
“I am in full support of the statements and the appearance of B’Tselem, the American Friends of Peace Now and any other organizations that appear before the United Nations, trying to highlight the violations of human rights, the violations of humanitarian law, and to remind us this occupation is entrenched, is dripping in human rights violations,” he added.
Danon would have none of it. “This U.N. rapporteur stands at the head of a biased body, he is not credible and we do not recognize his authority,” he said. “The lies spread by extremist organizations are ‘ammunition’ in the hands of those hostile to Israel and provides legitimization for those who wish to act against us in the international arena.”