Head of UN agency resigns over report that accuses Israel of imposing ‘apartheid regime’
The head of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) has reportedly resigned over the publication of a report by the UN agency that concluded that Israel was guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” of imposing apartheid policies against Palestinians, and urged the international community to abide by its “legal obligation” to punish such discriminatory measures.
UN Under-Secretary General and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf said she resigned following pressure from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to withdraw a report, Reuters news agency reported Friday evening.
ESCWA, which comprises 18 Arab states, had said it was the first time a UN body had clearly accused Israel of being an apartheid regime. “Aware of the seriousness of this allegation, the authors of the report conclude that available evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid as legally defined in instruments of international law,” an executive summary of the report read.
While the report garnered praise from Palestinians, Israeli officials were quick to denounce it, comparing it to Nazi propaganda and calling for Guterres to publicly reject it. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric later reportedly said that the report was published without consultation with the UN secretariat.