Senior UN official slams Israel for its treatment of B’Tselem

Lynk condemned Israel for its treatment of the left wing NGO B’Tselem, saying it is “intimidating human rights defenders”.

The United Nations headquarters (photo credit: REUTERS)
The United Nations headquarters
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK - The UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Michael Lynk, held a press conference on Friday condemning Israel for its treatment of the left-wing NGO B’Tselem, saying it is “intimidating human rights defenders.”
At the conference, which was called to discuss “Israel breaching Palestine’s right to development,” Lynk discussed the recent participation of B’Tselem’s executive director Hagai El-Ad, at an informal UN Security Council meeting on Israeli settlements held on October 14th.
Following the informal discussion, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon said that B’Tselem and the other Israeli organizations present “chose to slander and besmirch Israel’s good name.”
“It is unfortunate that Israeli organizations have joined the Palestinian attempts to wage diplomatic terror against Israel at the UN,” he said.
A few days later, on October 19th, Danon also called on the international body to stop funding B’Tselem, which he described as an “extremist organization that seeks to harm Israel.”
Funding them, he said, constitutes “meddling in Israeli politics.” In 2016, three UN agencies provided funding to B’Tselem.
On Friday, Lynk accused Israel of attempting to “delegitimize the great work of human rights defenders” and announced that his next report to the UN will also focus on Israel’s treatment of “human rights” organizations including B’Tselem and Americans for Peace Now.
Last week, Lynk, a Canadian international law expert, submitted a 26-page report on Israeli actions against Palestinians.
Danon reacted to Lynk’s statements on Friday saying they are “offensive, and show the immense damage done by extreme Israeli organizations that defame us in front of the international community.”
“This UN Rapporteur stands at the head of a biased body, he is not credible and we do not recognize his authority,” Danon 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.”