Serious UN-Israel Frictions

By Tomas Anael Granados Jimenez, Prensa Latina,

United Nations : The uncomfortable UN-Israel relations seemed to reach conflict level on Tuesday in the wake of serious incidents between Tel Aviv and President of the General Assembly, Nicaraguan Miguel d’ Escoto.

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The new friction was triggered by Israeli press reports accusing d’ Escoto of preventing Israeli Ambassador Gabriela Shalev from speaking at the ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10.

“It is absolutely false, a libel any court may consider a crime,” General Assembly official spokesman Enrique Yeves said.

D’ Escoto was a target of Israeli hatred recently after he compared Tel Aviv behaviour in occupied Palestinian territories to the apartheid regime in South Africa.

But this controversy has reached serious dimensions, with d’Escoto denouncing to have got on-line death threats.

“They are very serious threats against the life of the President of the General Assembly and we are taking them very seriously,” said Yeves.

“The issue is in the hands of UN security services and US officials as host country,” he added.

Making things worse, Israeli authorities held UN Human Rights Rapporteur for occupied Palestinian territories, Richard Falk, incommunicado for over 30 hours and later expelled him from Israel.

His mission was to investigate human rights violations against civilians in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including the humanitarian crisis in Gaza because of the siege imposed by Israel.

In a protest declaration, d’ Escoto said Israel’s attitude “reflects the dangerous decision made by one country to reject a UN mandate and a UN appointed official.”

Israeli press attacks against d’Escoto and their rejection of Falk “fail to contribute to achieve the atmosphere of international harmony that the President of the General Assembly is trying to promote.”