Richard Falk, international law professor emeritus and United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” during a news conference onMarch 21, Reuters reported.

Falk, a controversial figure in the United States,spoke last month at the Universityencouraging Palestinians to empower themselves and engage in nonviolent resistance in the ongoing conflict.

Falk noted at the April talk that Israeli residency laws have forced over 11,000 Palestinians out of Jerusalem since 1996, and are reminiscent of colonialism and apartheid. He explained that Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem lowered the prospects of Palestinians establishing a state in the West Bank with East Jerusalem as their capital.

Israel took control of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem as a result of the Six-Day War in 1967. It has previously denied accusations of persecuting Palestinians, stating an unwillingness to make peace with Israel.

There was no immediate response to Falk’s comments from the Israeli government, according to Reuters.

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