Travel ban should be issued against Israeli settlers- Palestinian FM

Speaking to UN Human Rights Council, Riad Al-Malki, Foreign Minister of the Palestinian Authority, advocates banning settlers from traveling "through your esteemed countries."

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki at the United Nations Human Rights Council. (photo credit: screenshot)
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
(photo credit: screenshot)

The international community should issue a travel ban against Israelis who live over the pre-1967 lines as part of an overall boycott of settlers and settlements, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki told the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday.

There should be a “ban on direct and indirect dealings with the illegal settlements. Practical measures are necessary against settlers to prevent their access or transit through your esteemed countries,” Malki said. He spoke on the second day of the high level portion of the UNHRC’s 40th session, which opened on February 25 and ends on March 22.

During the session, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is expected to publish its controversial database of companies doing business with Israeli entities located over the pre-1967 lines in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

Israel has worked behind the scenes to delay and or thwart its publication.

“We call upon the High Commissioner to issue the database of the companies which are operating in the settlements,” Malki said.

The PA’s foreign minister took issue with statements, such as those made on Monday by Denmark and Australia, against the UNHRC’s Agenda Item 7. The UNHRC is mandated to debate alleged Israeli human rights violations at every session under this item. Allegations of human rights abuses against all other countries are debated under Agenda Item 4. Denmark and Australia on Monday called on the UNHRC to stop singling out Israel and to eliminate Agenda Item 7.

“They are trying to undermine, intensively, the Item 7 of this Human Rights Council to perpetrate further massacres and violations against our people without any accountability,” Malki said. “We want to reaffirm the necessity of keeping Item 7 with regard to the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory as a standing item on the human rights agenda until the end of the occupation.”

“Colonization and human rights do not go hand in hand,” he said.

Malki took issue in particular with Israel’s decision to abolish the mandate of the international observers in the West Bank city of Hebron, known as the Temporary International Presence in Hebron, after 22 years.

“This fascist, right-wing extremist government, which is constituted of settlers, is seeking to promote its immunity and impunity, by denying any international presence to protect the Palestinian people and to observe its crimes,” he said.