World Bulletin / News Desk
The United Nations human rights investigator for the Palestinian territories said on Tuesday he would not resign and accused critics of calling him anti-Semitic to divert attention from his scrutiny of Israeli policies. Richard Falk said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had "joined in the attacks".
UN Watch, an activist group that Falk labels as a "pro-Israel lobbying organisation", and Israel's main ally the United States have called for him to quit. U.S. Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe described him as "unfit to serve in his role as a UN special rapporteur".
"I don't intend to resign and there doesn't seem to be any formal initiative that is seeking my dismissal," he told a news briefing a day after addressing the U.N. Human Rights Council.
"My role of trying to speak honestly about the situation that Palestinians are facing under this condition of prolonged occupation generates this sort of reaction that tries to paint anti-Israeli criticism as a form of anti-Semitism," Falk said.
Falk, an American law professor who is Jewish, accused Israel on Monday of imposing collective punishment on 1.75 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and said that the enclave's viability was at stake.