U.N. spokesman claims study does not reflect views of secretary-general.
The United States on Wednesday demanded that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres withdraw a report by a U.N. body accusing Israel of imposing apartheid on the Palestinians.
Guterres distanced himself from the report by the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) but U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said it should be scrapped altogether. “The United States is outraged by the report,” said Haley in a statement. “The United Nations secretariat was right to distance itself from this report, but it must go further and withdraw the report altogether.”
The study concluded that “available evidence established beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid.”
Based in Beirut, ESCWA is comprised of 18 Arab countries, according to its website, which lists the state of Palestine as a full member, and works to strengthen cooperation and promote development. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said “the report as it stands does not reflect the views of the secretary-general” and was done without consultations with the U.N. secretariat.
One of the authors is Richard Falk, a former special U.N. rapporteur on Palestinian human rights. “That such anti-Israel propaganda would come from a body whose membership nearly universally does not recognize Israel is unsurprising,” said Haley. She described Falk as “a man who has repeatedly made biased and deeply offensive comments about Israel and espoused ridiculous conspiracy theories.”
Haley has accused the United Nations of being biased against Israel and has vowed as President Donald Trump’s envoy to staunchly defend Israel at the world body. Israel’s ambassador Danny Danon condemned the report, describing it as an “attempt to smear and falsely label the only true democracy in the Middle East by creating a false analogy.”
Danon said to label Israel as an apartheid regime was “despicable” and “a blatant lie.” The report found that Palestinians were subjected to a “strategic fragmentation” that allowed Israel to impose “racial domination” with different sets of laws by geographic regions. The analysis showed “beyond a reasonable doubt” that “Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people, which amounts to the commission of a crime against humanity.”
The furor came ahead of a Security Council meeting next week to hear the first report from the United Nations on implementing a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement building.