Apartheid report

Apartheid report

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has awarded the highest Palestinian honour to Rima Khalaf, a senior UN official who resigned on Friday amid pressure to withdraw a report that accused Israel of creating an apartheid state.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has awarded the highest Palestinian honour to Rima Khalaf, a senior UN official who resigned on Friday amid pressure to withdraw a report that accused Israel of creating an apartheid state. Local media reported the Palestinian president had spoken to Khalaf by phone and given her Palestine's Medal of the Highest Honour in recognition of her "courage and support" for Palestinians.

Abbas "stressed to Dr. Khalaf that our people appreciate her humanitarian and national position".

Khalaf stepped down from her posts as the UN under-secretary-general and executive secretary for the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) after the report was removed from the ESCWA website.

The Accusation

The report accused Israel of imposing an apartheid regime that oppresses the Palestinian people. It also urged governments to support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Instead of succumbing to political blackmail or allowing itself to be censored or intimidated by external parties, the UN should condemn the acts described in the report and hold Israel responsible. It was expected that Israel and its allies will exercise pressure on the UN secretary-general to distance himself from the report and that they will ask him to withdraw it.

Analysis

The issue with Khalaf might not be the content of the report, but a result of her failure to follow the necessary procedure before the publication.

However, it was "highly unlikely" that UN leadership was unaware of the report’s existence or its content prior to its publication.

Israel was highly critical of the report, likening it to Nazi-era propaganda. The US also demanded the report be withdrawn.

Was Abbas waging “a diplomatic war on Israel” by announcing the award, describing the report as “libellous and false”.

Assessment

Instead of surrendering to political blackmail or allowing itself to be censored or intimidated by external parties, the UN should condemn the acts described in the report and hold Israel responsible. It was expected that Israel and its allies will exercise pressure on the UN secretary-general to distance himself from the report and that they will ask him to withdraw it.

Comments