“I Stand by my Assessment that Israel is Committing the Crime of Apartheid,” Head of UN Body Resigns Following Pressure from UN Secretary-General Guterres To Withdraw Critical Report
The head of the United Nation’s West Asia commission resigned on Friday, after what she described as pressure from the secretary-general to withdraw a report accusing Israel of imposing an “apartheid regime” on Palestinians.
The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), which comprises 18 Arab states, published the report on Wednesday, saying it was the first time a UN body had clearly made the charge.
Click here to read the statement of Khalaf posted on ESCWA’s social media.
However two days later, Rima Khalaf, UN under-secretary-general and ESCWA executive secretary, announced her resignation at a news conference in Beirut.
“I stand by my assessment in the report, that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid,” she said at the conference.
“I find myself unable to accept the pressure placed on me over the last period of time.
“The secretary-general demanded yesterday that I withdraw the report, and I refused,” she said, adding: “I believe that discrimination on the basis of skin colour, religion or ethnicity is unacceptable.”
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday asked for the report to be removed from the UN website.
The UN on Friday accepted her resignation, with spokesperson Stephane Dujarric saying:
“This is not about content, this is about process.”
“The secretary-general cannot accept that an under-secretary-general or any other senior UN official that reports to him would authorise the publication under the UN name, under the UN logo, without consulting the competent departments and even himself,” he told reporters.
Dujarric had earlier said that “the report as it stands does not reflect the views of the secretary-general” and was written without consultations with the UN secretariat.
The United States, an ally of Israel, said it was outraged by the report.
“The United Nations secretariat was right to distance itself from this report, but it must go further and withdraw the report altogether,” the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said in a statement.
Click here to read Haley’s statement posted on her social media.
The Israeli ministry spokesman, Emmanuel Nahshon, commenting on Twitter, also noted the report had not been endorsed by the UN secretary-general.
Click here to read Nahshon’s statement posted on his social media.