Michael Lynk
Michael Lynk

Human Rights Violations Ignored by UN Palestine Rapporteur Michael Lynk

MYTH: Michael Lynk, whose U.N. title is “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967,” examines the situation of human rights in that area, concerning any victims, Palestinians and Israelis alike.

Example:  “The work that Michael Lynk is doing and the work required by his office is to
report on and monitor the state of human rights in the occupied territories.”
Sir Geoffrey Bindman, 13 June 2017

FACT:  Contrary to what his title says, Michael Lynk does not examine the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories. Rather, his mandate from the U.N. Human Rights Council—which he embraces—is to investigate only “Israel’s violations.” The U.N. title, which implies neutrality as to the identity of the victim or perpetrator of human rights violations, is deceptive. In fact, the mandate turns a blind eye to both Palestinians and Israelis victimized by human rights violations committed by the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and others. A more accurate title of Lynk’s position might be “Special Rapporteur on Israel’s violations in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” (For more, see “Mandate to Discriminate,” UN Watch report, March 2016.)

Since Michael Lynk was appointed Special Rapporteur in March 2016, he delivered reports to the General Assembly in October 2016 and October 2017, a report to the Human Rights Council in April 2017 and a series of press releases and statements. In none of these does he mention human rights abuses by the Palestinian Authority, Hamas or other Palestinian groups against either Palestinians or Israelis.

Moreover, Lynk has demonstrated a troubling lack of independence in his research. His April 2017 report to the HRC listed Manal Tamimi, known for spreading antisemitism and advocating terrorism on social media, as a human rights defender. Lynk was forced to remove Tamimi from the list only after the watchdog group NGO Monitor filed a complaint to the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Following are the categories of human rights violations, together with selected examples, which have been systematically ignored by Michael Lynk since the UNHRC named him Special Rapporteur in March 2016.

Palestinian Authority Violations in West Bank – Ignored by Lynk

  • Arbitrary Arrest: Palestinian Authority security forces arrest freelance journalist Naseem Mualla, confiscate his mobile phone and hold Mualla at undisclosed location. (November 2021).
  • Torture: Palestinian Authority security forces detain more than 75 Palestinians in the aftermath of Nizar Banat’s death, several allege they were brutally tortured in prison. (July 2021).
  • Arbitrary Arrest: Palestinian Authority security forces arrest singer Abdullah Kmeil for “normalization” with Israel after he performed at a work party for Palestinian employees at the Ariel Industrial Park. (July 2021).
  • Suppression of Freedoms of the Press and Assembly: Palestinian Authority security forces assault 12 journalists reporting on protests against the death in PA custody of activist Nizar Banat. (June 2021).
  • Censorship: Palestinian Authority arrests political activist Tareq al-Khadairi for cursing Yasser Arafat during a pro-Hamas rally in Ramallah. (May 2021).
  • Violation Privacy Rights; Suppression of Dissent: Palestinian Authority Preventive Security Services operates hacking network targeting some 800 human rights activists, journalists and government critics. According to Facebook, the network used fake accounts to gain the trust of its targets, to trick them into installing malware that gave the PA security services access to the targets’ personal information on their phones. (April 2021).
  • Suppression of Freedom of Assembly: PA President Mahmoud Abbas issues presidential decree imposing severe restrictions on activities and finances of civil society organizations, criticized by Palestinian NGOs as anti-democratic. (March 2021).
  • Denial of Free and Fair Elections: Central Committee of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party declares that chief rival Mohammed Dahlan is banned from running in upcoming elections – first to be held in 14 years – due to his criminal conviction in abstentia for corruption, which Dahlan’s supporters say was politically motivated. (January 2021).
  • Arbitrary Arrest: Palestinian Authority Security Forces arbitrarily arrest Palestinian political activist Nizar Banat for criticizing PA decision to resume security cooperation with Israel. (November 2020).
  • Arbitrary Arrest, Censorship: Palestinian Authority security forces arbitrarily arrest journalist Sami al-Sai after a video he shared on Facebook about watermelons grown in Jericho is shared by a Tulkarm community Facebook page with posts on PA corruption. He is accused of “slander” and “disparagement via the internet,” among other things. (June 2020).
  • Arbitrary Arrest: Palestinian Authority arbitrarily arrests Palestinians who said they would prefer to live under Israeli rule in an Israeli TV news report on annexation. (June 2020).
  • Arbitrary Arrest, Censorship: Palestinian Authority security forces arbitrarily arrest Dr. Amid Masoud for Facebook posts critical of PA President Mahmoud Abbas in connection with a West Bank doctors’ strike. (March 2020).
  • Arbitrary Arrest, Torture: PA security forces arbitrarily arrest and torture 50-year-old Palestinian man from Hebron who converted to Judaism. The Man says he was beaten and his hands and feet were burned during the interrogation. (October 2019).
  • Censorship: PA Magistrate’s court blocks 59 websites and social media accounts, mostly critical of PA President Abbas, claiming they threaten national security. (October 2019).
  • Persecution against LGBT: PA bans LGBT organization al-Qaws after it holds meeting in Nablus, claiming the group’s activities are “contrary to the values of Palestinian society.” LGBT Palestinians in the West Bank are routinely subjected to persecution and even “honor killing” at the hands of their own families. (August 2019).
  • Arbitrary Arrest: PA security forces arbitrarily detain journalist Yousef Faqeeh. They held Faqeeh for two weeks, confiscated his mobile phone and laptop and asked him about his political affiliations and a Facebook post. (January 2019).
  • Arbitrary Arrest and Prosecution, Antisemitic Laws: PA court sentences East Jerusalem man, Issam Akel, to life in prison and hard labor for attempting to sell Old City property to Jew, in violation of PA law prohibiting land sales to Israeli Jews. (December 2018).
  • Arbitrary Arrest, Torture: PA forces arrest and torture activist Suha Jbara, beating her, depriving her of water and use of the toilet, and threatening to harm her family, among other things. (December 2018).
  • Suppression of Freedom of Assembly: PA police use excessive force to break-up Ramallah protest opposing PA policies in Gaza, violently beat protesters, arresting wounded from the hospital, and smashing and confiscating phones and cameras. (June 2018).
  • Arbitrary Arrest, Suppression of Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion: PA police arrest 31 for eating, drinking, and allegedly gambling in a café during Ramadan. (June 2018).
  • Arbitrary Arrest: PA arrests former Arafat bodyguard Mohamed al-Dayya for criticizing PA policies, transfer him to undisclosed location, and deny him contact with his family. (December 2017).
  • Incitement of children to terror: PA violates rights of children by encouraging them to engage in violence and terrorism. PA education official glorifies martyrdom death in resisting Israeli “occupation” to Palestinian youth at PA school named after Palestinian terrorist. PA funded youth magazine publishes poem teaching children that throwing rocks at Jews is mandated by Muhammad. (November 2017).
  • Arbitrary Arrest, Censorship: PA arrests at least five journalists and a prominent human rights defender, as part of a crackdown on journalists which also included passage of the draconian Electronic Crimes Law curbing free speech on the internet. (August-September 2017).
  • Arbitrary Arrest, Censorship: PA detains journalist for filming PA prime minister’s motorcade passing through Israeli checkpoint, and hold him incommunicado for three days prior to releasing him on bail. (July 2017).
  • Suppression of Freedom of Assembly: Palestinian security forces use excessive force to violently suppress peaceful protest outside the Ramallah District Court. (March 2017).
  • Torture: PA security forces arrest and severely beat Ahmad Izzat Halaweh who dies shortly thereafter in Jeneid prison in Nablus. (August 2016).
  • Torture: Three Palestinians allege they were held incommunicado and tortured by PA intelligence officers for almost three weeks following their April 9, 2016 arrest. (April 2016).


Hamas Violations in Gaza – Ignored by Lynk

  • Arbitrary Arrest: Hamas security forces arrest journalist Alaa al-Mashrawi without disclosing the charges and raid al-Mashrawi’s home, seizing two laptops, four mobile phones and worked documents. (November 2021).
  • Discrimination Against Women: Gazan woman Afaf Al-Najar is prevented from leaving Gaza to study on a scholarship in Turkey by her father who filed a petition to stop her travel pursuant to Hamas guardianship laws. (November 2021).
  • Extrajudicial Killings: Hamas security forces kill two 27-year-old Gazans in separate incidents; one is shot as he drives through a checkpoint; a second is severely beaten by Hamas security forces during a raid on the al-Nuseirat Refugee Camp and later dies of his wounds. (July 2021).
  • Attack on Aid Convoy: Hamas twice deliberately attacks humanitarian aid convoys passing through Kerem Shalom humanitarian crossing from Israel to Gaza, disrupting the deliveries to Gazans in need and in one case injuring an Israeli soldier. (May 2021).
  • Human shields: Hamas exploits Gaza civilians as human shields, deliberately embedding “military objectives within Gazan homes, schools, hospitals and even high-rise buildings used by journalists” to maximize Palestinian civilian casualties, as part of its propaganda war against Israel. (May 2021).
  • Rocket Attacks: Hamas rockets fall short in Gaza killing at least 16 Palestinians (20 according to one source). During May 2021 conflict, approximately 15% of Hamas and PIJ rockets fell short in Gaza. (May 2021).
  • Violation of Personal Freedoms: Hamas security officers assault female journalist for not wearing Hijab, traditional Muslim headscarf. (May 2021).
  • Discrimination Against Women: Hamas-run Islamic court rules that women cannot travel without permission of a male guardian. (February 2021).
  • Religious Discrimination: Hamas issues memo banning Muslims from attending Christmas celebrations in Gaza, a move described by some as “racist” and characterized as part of a Hamas crackdown on Christians in the Gaza Strip. (December 2020).
  • Censorship: Hamas bans all Gaza journalists from working with Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath news networks. (July 2020).
  • Arbitrary Arrest: Hamas security forces arbitrarily arrest Muhammad Saqr on charges of “misusing technology” for Facebook posts criticizing Hamas. (April 2020).
  • Fair Trial and Due Process Violations: Hamas military court sentences six Gazans to death for collaborating with Israel. (December 2018).
  • Arbitrary Arrest, Suppression of Freedom of Expression: Hamas arrests Gazans Salah Jadallah and Khader Mihjez, after they made statements critical of Hamas. (December 2018).
  • Torture of Children: Hamas fighters in Gaza beat and torture 13-year-old Gazan boy because he got into a fights with the son of a Hamas military commander. (August 2018).
  • Suppression of Freedom of Assembly: Armed Hamas operatives use violence to suppress peaceful protest against Hamas in Gaza, assaulting and threatening protesters and stealing phones. (June 2018).
  • Arbitrary Arrest, Torture: Hamas jails Palestinian mother of six for 23 days in unspeakable conditions without family visits or access to a lawyer, and without any criminal charges. (May 2018).
  • Extrajudicial killing: Hamas affiliated family kills relative Ahmad Said Barhoum accused by Hamas of aiding Israel in killing three Hamas commanders in summer 2014. Execution takes place just after Hamas releases Barhoum to his family, after having held him in custody for several months without trial. Hamas praises execution. (January 2018).
  • Torture: Hamas tortures militants responsible for rocket fire into Israel. (December 2017).
  • Torture of Juveniles: Hamas imprisons Mustafa Salman, 16, for injuring a young man’s hand in a fight. Salman is detained in a cell with other adults and subjected to torture and abuse by the other prisoners and by police, leading him to commit suicide. (September 2017).
  • Torture, Arbitrary Arrest: Hamas agents arrest and torture Mohammed Sufian al-Qassas, owner of internet cafe due to complaints that victim was “insulting god;” victim suffers severe injuries and remains in coma for two and a half days. (September 2017).
  • Arbitrary Arrest, Censorship: Hamas detains journalists Fouad Jaradeh and Amr Balousha for “collaborating with Ramallah and misusing technology.” (June and July 2017).
  • Extrajudicial Killing: Hamas hangs three Palestinians convicted in unfair military trial for collaborating with Israel. (April 2017).
  • Torture, Censorship: Hamas detains and tortures journalist Mohamed Ahmed Othman, seeking the source of a government document he had published. (September 2016).
  • Torture, Denial of Due Process: Hamas executes three Palestinians convicted of murder in proceedings which lacked due process and involved torture. (May 2016).


Palestinian Terrorism Against Israelis – Ignored by Lynk

  • Inciting War: Deputy Chairman of the Hamas politburo Musa Abu Marzouk calls Israel’s existence an “injustice,” adding that Hamas’s war will end only when the “occupation” ends, the Jews “leave Palestine,” and the Palestinians “return to their homes.” Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Al-Zahar states outright that Israel has no right to exist because this is “an Arabic area…an Islamic area.” (May 2021).
  • Terror Tunnels: Hamas spends millions to construct highly sophisticated network of over 60 miles of terror tunnels beneath civilian infrastructure in Gaza, the sole purpose of which is to attack Israel. (May 2021).
  • Inciting Murder of Jews: Hamas politburo member Fathi Hamad urges the people of Jerusalem to purchase five shekel knives and “cut off the heads of the Jews.” (May 2021).
  • Rocket Attacks: Terrorist groups in Gaza indiscriminately fire over 36 rockets and mortars at Israeli civilian areas along the border, damaging buildings and vehicles and terrorizing the civilian population. (April 2021).
  • Murder of Civilian: Palestinian terrorist brutally murders 52-year-old Israeli mother-of-six Esther Horgan while she is out for a run on a local nature trail. (December 2020).
  • Rocket Attacks: Terrorist groups in Gaza indiscriminately fire rockets at Israeli city of Ashkelon. (November 2020).
  • Murder of Civilian: Palestinian terrorist stabs to death 39-year-old Israel father-of-four Rabbi Shai Ohayon outside Israeli city of Petach Tikvah. (August 2020).
  • Planning Terror Attacks: Hamas members planning bomb attacks at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium and other terror attacks are arrested by Israeli security forces (April 2020).
  • Stabbing: In premeditated attack, West Bank Palestinian stabs and injures 62-year-old Israeli woman multiple times on Israel’s Memorial Day. (April 2020).
  • Praising Terrorist Car-ramming: Hamas praises Palestinian car-ramming attack which injured 12 Israeli soldiers outside Jerusalem’s First Station as a “practical response” to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan. (February 2020).
  • Rocket Attacks: Palestine Islamic Jihad indiscriminately fires more than 20 rockets into Israel after Israel killed one of its militants planting a bomb along the border fence. (February 2020).
  • Antisemitic Blood Libel: At anti-corruption conference, PA President Mahmoud Abbas recycles antisemitic libel accusing Israel of actively supplying drugs to Palestinians in order to ruin their future. His words are broadcast on official PA TV. (December 2019).
  • Rocket Attacks: The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group indiscriminately fires more than 400 rockets from Hamas-controlled Gaza, injuring 84 Israelis including three with physical injuries. (November 2019).
  • Bombing: Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist cell detonates bomb on Jewish family visiting nature spring, killing 17-year-old Rina Schnerb and seriously injuring her brother and father. (August 2019).
  • Praising Terrorism: Hamas and Islamic Jihad praise terrorist stabbing of teenage Israeli student Dvir Sorek, as a “heroic operation.” (August 2019).
  • Inciting Murder of Jews: Hamas official Fathi Hamad calls on Palestinians to “attack every Jew possible in all the world and kill them.” In other statements, he has referred to Jews as “filth,” “cancer” and “Allah’s enemies.” (July 2019).
  • Rocket Attacks: Four Israeli civilians killed by indiscriminate rocket attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza. (May 2019).
  • Shooting and Stabbing: Palestinian terrorist stabs to death Israeli soldier, steals his weapon and then shoots and kills Jewish father of twelve, Rabbi Achiad Ettinger. (March 2019).
  • Explosive Balloons: Explosive balloons launched from Gaza land near Israeli kindergarten. (December 2018).
  • Shootings, Praising Terrorism: Hamas terrorists shoot at Israeli civilians standing at a bus stop, wounding 7, including a pregnant women whose baby was delivered by emergency c-section and later died. Hamas praised the perpetrator, Salih Omar Barghouti, calling the attack “heroic.” (December 2018).
  • Shootings: Hamas terrorist shoots at Israeli soldiers and civilians at bus stop, killing two soldiers, and wounding another soldier and a civilian. (December 2018).
  • Praising Terrorism: Hamas and Islamic Jihad praise terrorist shooting of Israelis Kim Levengrond Yehezkel and Ziv Hajbi at Barkan Industrial Park in October as “heroic.” Similarly, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah’s military wing, all praise terrorist stabbing and murder of Israeli Ari Fuld a few weeks earlier. (September and October 2018).
  • Explosive Balloons: Hundreds of explosive balloons and kites are catapulted into Israel, sparking an average of 12 fires per day in the Israeli forests and fields near Gaza. The fires have burned over 7,000 acres of Israeli land and caused millions of shekels in damage. One explosive balloon lands in Israeli kindergarten in July while children play outside. (March to October 2018).
  • Attempt to breach Gaza border fence: Since March 2018, Hamas affiliated terrorists have made numerous attempts to violently breach the border fence separating Israel from Gaza with the express intention of invading Israeli communities and murdering Israelis. (March to October 2018).
  • Inciting Terrorism: Hamas leaders incited March of Return protesters to violence and murder with statements like: “We will tear down the border and we will tear out their hearts from their bodies,” and “Death to Israel.” (May 2018).
  • Building Terror Tunnels: Islamic Jihad tunnel stretching from Gaza into Israel is blown up by the Israeli army in October. Islamic Jihad leader admits purpose of tunnel was to kidnap Israeli soldiers and use them as bargaining chips in negotiations. In June the IDF destroys a tunnel extending into the sea off the Gaza coast for infiltrating Israel by sea (June October 2018).
  • Rockets at Civilians: Barrage of 45 rockets fired into Israel from Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in June land in Israeli towns, including next to a community center and a kindergarten. In August, rocket fire from Gaza injures three in the Israeli town of Sderot. Gaza Rockets fired into Israel in October land in Israeli city of Be’er Sheva and off the coast in Central Israel, damaging two homes and terrorizing civilians. (June – October 2018).
  • Training children as terrorists: Islamic Jihad affiliated terrorists in Gaza train kindergarteners in terrorism, having 5-year olds dressed in uniform with fake weapons simulate military attack and hostage-taking against Israelis at kindergarten graduation ceremony. (May 2018).
  • Shooting at Civilians: Hamas terror cell responsible for murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevach in drive-by shooting. (January 2018).
  • Rockets at Civilians: Following President Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem, at least 18 rockets are fired from Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip into Israel communities, one of which damages a home near the Israeli city of Ashkelon. (December 2017).
  • Building Terror Tunnels: In a span of less than six weeks, the IDF discovers two terror attack tunnels leading from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip into Israel. (October-December 2017).
  • Calling for Israel’s Destruction: Following Palestinian unity deal, Hamas leader Salah Arouri rejects any possibility of recognizing Israel, stating “we are now in the stage of preparing to eliminate the Zionist entity.” The statement was condemned by by Nickolay Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace. Michael Lynk said nothing. (October 2017).
  • Stabbing Civilians; Inciting Terrorism: Hamas affiliated terrorist murders three members of Salomon family at Friday night Shabbat dinner in their home, following vicious incitement by Palestinian leaders in Fatah and Hamas and mass Palestinian rioting over Temple Mount security measures. (July 2017).
  • Praising Terrorism: Hamas praises terror attack in which Israeli border police officer Hadas Malka is killed. The attack was condemned by Nickolay Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace. Michael Lynk said nothing. (June 2017).
  • Rockets at Civilians: Rocket fired into Israel from Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip shatters windows and damages car in the Israeli town of Sderot. (October 2016).
  • Shooting Civilians: Palestinian terrorists kill two Israelis in separate terrorist attacks —13 year-old girl Hallel Ariel in her home in Kiryat Arba and 48 year-old Rabbi Michael Mark in a drive-by shooting in which his wife and two of his children were also injured. (June & July 2016).
  • Suicide Bombing: Hamas carries out suicide bomb attack on Israeli bus injuring at least 19 Israelis. (April 2016).
  • Kidnapping: In violation of international humanitarian law, Hamas holds three Israelis who entered the Gaza Strip between 2014 and 2016, as well as the remains of two Israeli soldiers killed in Operation Protective Edge. (2014 to today).
UN Watch