Israel requests UN official's expulsion

Israel demands UN staffer Robert Piper be replaced after he criticized Israeli military control over Judea and Samaria.

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Mordechai Sones,

Perpetuating misery:  UN handout in Gaza
Perpetuating misery: UN handout in Gaza
צילום: Abed Rahim Khatib/ Flash90

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs is demanding that Robert Piper, a United Nations staffer be replaced after learning of comments he made that were critical of Israel, Walla news site reported.

Israel is also threatening to revoke the residency permit of the staffer, who works as the United Nations Humanitarian Aid and Development Coordinator.

Last week, Piper released a press statement critical of the Israeli government on the fiftieth anniversary of the Six Day War and its subsequent military control over Judea and Samaria.

"Occupation is ugly," said Piper, who is an Australian native. "Living under foreign military rule for years on end generates despair, suffocates initiative, and leaves generations in a kind of political and economic limbo."

If Piper's tenure is not terminated, Israel said that it would be difficult to continue working with him, which could harm coordination of humanitarian aid to Arabs living in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, reports i24News.

Piper has worked with various humanitarian groups and UN development agencies for nearly thirty years. Since 2015, he has served as the "Special Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs and Development for the Occupied Palestinian Territory."

In the past two years, he delivered a series of statements that have caused resentment and anger in Jerusalem.

Piper wrote in his statement that Israeli government "policies have violated international humanitarian law as well as the human rights mechanisms to which Israel is a party."

The statement added that "Israel’s occupation is backed by force. Accompanying that ever-present security apparatus have been deliberate policies that have isolated Palestinian communities from each other, ruptured social cohesion, profoundly limited economic activity, and deprived many of their basic rights – of movement, of expression, of access to health, and much more."

Earlier this year, Piper criticized Israel for its land, air and sea blockade of Gaza, now entering its tenth year.

As of press time, the UN had not responded to requests for comment, Walla reported.