Israel has denied an entry request by a United Nations Human Rights Commission investigator on women, after she asked for permission to visit “Palestine.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson said on Monday that the issue was the language of the request and the travel itinerary, which did not include a visit to Israel.
“The special investigator asked to visit ‘Palestine.’ We explained to her that there is no such country. Should she wish to visit the Palestinian Authority as part of a visit to Israel, that would be no problem.
Israel has an excellent record of working with UN special investigators,” he said.
According to the UNHRC, the Palestinian Authority invited its special rapporteur on violence against women, Rashida Manjoo, to visit the Palestinian territories from January 19 to 29 to explore issues regarding violence toward women.
On Friday, Manjoo said she had sought an entry visa from Israel for six weeks with no success.
“Regrettably, I did not receive the necessary support, including a visa by the government of Israel, ahead of my travel,” Manjoo said.
“It is unfortunate that I have been denied the opportunity to engage directly with women survivors of violence, and that the exercise of my mandate has been hindered by the unwillingness of the government of Israel, as the occupying power, to facilitate access to the occupied Palestinian territory,” she said.
“My intention, as per practice during my country visits, was to support the Palestinian Authority to strengthen its capacity to protect and promote women’s rights and to meet its international human rights obligations,” Manjoo said.
She had planned to meet with PA officials, law enforcement agents, representatives of Palestinian civic society, and women survivors of violence. She also intended to visit prisoners, refugee camps, and women’s shelters.
“I remain interested in visiting the occupied Palestinian territory, and call on the government of Israel, as the occupying power, to facilitate access to the territory,” Manjoo said.