Who is Richard Falk and What Has He Done?
Richard Falk is the present United Nations Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories. His job is to monitor the human rights situation in the territories, with particular reference to international law, and report back to both the U.N. General Assembly and the United Nations Human Rights Council. He is professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University and well qualified for his United Nations post.
Professor Falk was appointed in 2008 to a six year term in his present position. That means he has been telling the unsettling truth about Israeli behavior for four years now, with another two to go. Repeatedly he has documented Israeli violations of international law and its relentless disregard for Palestinian human rights. For instance:
– In his 2008 report Falk documented the “desperate plight of civilians in Gaza.”
– In his 2009 report Falk described Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip as a “war crime of the greatest magnitude.”
– In his 2010 report Falk documented Israel’s array of apartheid policies.
– In his 2011 report Falk documented Israeli policies in Jerusalem and labelled them “ethnic cleansing.”
– And finally, in this latest report for the year 2012, Falk has concentrated on two subjects:
First, Israel’s treatment of Palestinian prisoners which, he concludes, is so bad as to warrant investigation by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). It should be noted that Israel does not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICJ. However, condemnation by this organization would, within the context of growing awareness of Zionist crimes, help further educate public opinion.
Second, Falk documents the assistance given Israel’s expansion of colonies on the Palestinian West Bank by a number of multinational corporations, including Motorola, Hewlett-Packard and Caterpillar Inc. This assistance may be profitable, but it is also manifestly illegal. The CEOs and board members of these companies stand in violation of international laws including provisions of the Geneva Conventions. Since no nation, nor the UN itself, seems ready to prosecute them, Professor Falk has recommended a boycott of the guilty firms “in an effort to take infractions of international law seriously.”
In a sane world this work would make Richard Falk a universally acclaimed defender of justice. But ours is not a sane world. And so you get the following sort of responses from both Israel and its supporters: