In his final report to the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday, Makarim Wibisono, United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, accused Israel of using excessive force against Palestinians. He also called for Israeli authorities to charge or release all Palestinian prisoners being held under lengthy administrative detention.
Wibisono claimed that approximately 5,680 Palestinians were detained by Israel as of the end of October 2015, including hundreds of minors. He cited figures from the NGO, B’Tselem, which has been frequently criticized for misrepresenting international law, accepting funding from foreign anti-Israel entities, and for misleading or inaccurate statistical reporting.
“Hundreds of Palestinians being held, now including children, often under secret evidence, and for up to six-month terms that can be renewed indefinitely, is not consistent with international human rights standards,” he said. “The government of Israel should promptly charge or release all administrative detainees.”
Wibisono blamed the recent violence on the “illegal” Jewish settlements in the West Bank. He also referred to East Jerusalem as part of the “illegal occupation”. He also criticized the construction of a security wall, and Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which he described as a “stranglehold” and “collective punishment”.
“The upsurge in violence is a grim reminder of the unsustainable human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the volatile environment it engenders,” Wibisono said in his report to the Human Rights Council.
Israel’s foreign ministry dismissed the report as biased.
“The report reflects the one-sidedness of the mandate and its flagrant anti-Israel bias. It is this one-sidedness which has made the rapporteur’s mission impossible to fulfill, hence his resignation,” spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said.
Wibisono’s claims seem to mirror those made recently by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, one day after a fatal terror attack. Moon said, ” “it is human nature to react to occupation,” seeming to justify Palestinian terror. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted strongly, accusing Moon of “encouraging terrorism”.
Wibisono resigned last month after claiming Israel did not grant him access to the areas he is tasked with monitoring. Israel refused to cooperate with the investigation, claiming it was “distorted and biased”.
“I hope that whoever succeeds me will manage to resolve the current impasse, and so reassure the Palestinian people that after nearly half a century of occupation the world has not forgotten their plight,” Mr Wibisono said.
In response to Wibisono’s claims, Nahshon replied, “Israeli human rights are violated too, every day, by Palestinians and until ignoring this ends the council will not be taken seriously.”