The United Nations (UN) has raised red flags over Israel's decision not to issue visas to its staff tasked with giving Palestinian aid.
Based on a report by Arab News, UN spokesperson Stephanie Dujarric explained that Israel's denial of visas to UN personnel would significantly restrict the flow of aid from humanitarian organizations.
"We are, of course, still in contact with the Israeli authorities on this matter, and we hope it will be resolved," Arab News quoted Dujarric saying.
Israel's Foreign Ministry quickly defended itself over the UN's reaction to its visa refusal. The ministry blasted the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for what it called the latter's "undercounting" of Israeli civilian casualties of Palestinian offensives.
According to the ministry, while OCHA employees count the civilian deaths on their side from Palestinian attacks, the latter did not brand such attacks as terrorism.
"OCHA is accused of reporting the killing or harming of Israeli civilians under disputed circumstances while taking reports of Palestinian casualties at face value and assigning blame to Israel, including in clashes between IDF forces and Palestinian militants," Israel's Foreign Ministry said.
Al-Haq Palestinian Human Rights group's director general Shawan Jabarin said he was not surprised by Israel's decision to deny visas to UN staff.
Jabarin explained that the UN OCHA's failure to protest Israel's previous moves to deny entry to Palestine of UN special rapporteurs could have triggered the recent visa refusal.
He told Arab News that the visa denial is "an Israeli message to the UN that your previous complacency will lead to a day when no UN official will be allowed to enter the Palestinian territories unless Israel approves of their presence."
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Israel's Policy Change
The news outlet disclosed that the Ministry of Defense's Coordinator of the Government Activities in the Palestinian territories recently made policy changes regarding foreign nationals wishing to enter Palestine. Arab News bared that the Israelis now order foreigners to secure entry visas at least a month before their intended arrival.
Jabarin called such a move Israel's way of ensuring that international organizations critical of the country's treatment of Palestinian territories it occupies would have a hard time doing their humanitarian and investigative work.
He added that Israel is essentially 're-engineering' the way the international community tackles its policies on occupied Palestinian territories. Jabarin said Israel wants to enforce the restrictions to nip any criticism in the bud coming from organizations like the UN.
"The silence of the UN gave Israel a ladder to climb on its back," Jabarin told Arab News.
The West Bank region has been a hotbed of armed conflict between Palestinian and Israeli forces, leading to innocent civilians' deaths.
The news outlet disclosed that 165 Palestinians have died in West Bank, with another 54 fatalities in Gaza Strip. Consequently, neighboring Egypt had expressed worries over Israelis' slaughter of Palestinians in the West Bank.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, the Israeli National Security Minister, said they might occupy Palestinian territories with Israeli occupants and enforce punitive sanctions on Palestine.
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