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UN Palestinian Territory Investigator Resigns After Israel Denies Visa Request

(JTA) — The United Nations special investigator into Israel’s human rights abuses in Palestinian territories has resigned over Israel’s refusal to grant him a visa for travel into the West Bank.

Makarim Wibisono of Indonesia announced his resignation to the United Nations in a letter on Monday, the Jerusalem Post reported. He had taken over the post of special rapporteur on the state of Palestinian human rights in 2014.

Wibisono claimed that he had been denied access to the West Bank since he assumed his post, despite multiple written and oral requests.

“With no reply from Israel to my latest request, in October, 2015, to have access by the end of 2015, it is with deep regret that I accept the premise upon which I took up the mandate, which is to have direct access to the victims in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, will not be fulfilled,” Wibisono wrote.

Israel’s foreign ministry has complained that the UN investigator post focuses solely on Israeli human rights violations and not those by Palestinians. Israel is also the only country that UN Human Rights Council has assigned a permanent investigator — in other countries, the post must be renewed.

“It is my sincere 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 and that universal human rights are indeed universal,” Wibisono said.

Wibisono will present his final report to the UNHRC council in Geneva in March before stepping down.

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