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UN official quits over ‘apartheid’ report on Israel

Middle East News
Sat, 18 Mar 2017
GDN Online Desk


The head of a Lebanon-based United Nations agency that promotes development in Arab countries has resigned, after refusing to withdraw a controversial report that concludes that Israel has established an "apartheid regime."

BEIRUT: The head of a Lebanon-based UN agency that promotes development in Arab countries resigned yesterday, after refusing to withdraw a controversial report concluding that Israel has established an “apartheid regime” that discriminates against Palestinians.

The report “Israeli Practices Toward the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid,” published earlier this week by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, drew swift criticism from UN and Israeli officials. Its authors had concluded that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that systematically institutionalises racial oppression and domination of the Palestinian people as a whole”.

Rima Khalaf, a Jordanian who heads the Beirut-based ESCWA, announced her resignation at a Press conference in the Lebanese capital Friday.

She described the report as “the first of its kind,” adding that it “concludes scientifically and according to international law that Israel has established an apartheid regime.”

Khalaf said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres instructed her on Thursday morning to withdraw the report.

“I asked him to review his position but he insisted on it. Based on that, I submitted my resignation from the UN.”