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Why Israel Has Opted Not To Extend UN Envoy's Visa
Lynn Hastings (pictured), resident coordinator for the West Bank and Gaza Strip. (AFP)

Why Israel Has Opted Not To Extend UN Envoy’s Visa

Israel has notified the United Nations that it will not renew the visa of its humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories. A UN spokesman said Friday after Israeli officials said the diplomat could not be impartial.

In December 2020, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres named Canada’s Lynn Hastings as his deputy special envoy for the Middle East peace process and the resident coordinator for the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“We’ve been informed by the Israeli authorities that they would not renew the visa of Miss Hastings past its due date at some point later this month,” Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

Dujarric declined to specify if Hastings, who is based in Jerusalem, will be replaced. He also did no say if she will continue her work from another base of operations. He highlighted that Guterres retains “full confidence” in Hastings.

“You’ve seen some very public attacks on Twitter against her, which were utterly unacceptable,” the spokesman said.

In late October, the Israeli foreign ministry lashed out at Hastings on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“According to UN ethics, she is supposed to be impartial and objective, but unfortunately she is neither.”

“Hastings’ dangerous rhetoric endangers innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians,” said the post. The post also featured a video claiming that Hastings was slow to condemn the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas militants.

Other UN representatives have faced criticism from Israeli officials since the start of the conflict. Israel’s UN envoy Gilad Erdan has repeatedly called for Guterres’ resignation.

In late October, he said Israel would no longer grant visas to UN envoys. They accused other officials from the world body of having “spread lies” on the situation.

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