Arab World Bashes UN Action against "Israel Apartheid" Report

Arab World Bashes UN Action against

The report titled "Israeli Practices Toward the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid", which was published earlier this week by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, drew swift criticism from UN and Israeli officials.

"Instead of succumbing to political blackmail or allowing itself to be censored or intimidated by external parties, the United Nations should condemn the acts described in the report and hold Israel responsible", Ashrawi said in a statement on Saturday.

Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad al-Maliki also voiced deep regrets that Khalaf was forced to resign and expressed his "unequivocal objection" over the removal of the report.

UN Under-Secretary General and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf said she was leaving after "powerful member states" had pressured the world body and its chief with "vicious attacks and threats". "We will continue to remain grateful to Dr. Khalaf for assuming a principled and courageous stand on behalf of the people of Palestine".

ESCWA, which comprises 18 Arab states, published the report on Wednesday and said it was the first time a United Nations body had clearly charged that Israel "has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole". "It's about senior officials dealing with a matter that implicates other parts of the system - that they consult and they coordinate".

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The U.N.is "incapable of taking a stand" and the debacle over the report proved it can not be counted on "to defend human rights in our region", he said.

Nasrallah said in a speech broadcast over the weekend that the incident served as a reminder of the "truth of this organization, that it's weak ... and it succumbs to the will of the United States and Israel".

"UN agencies must do a better job of eliminating false and biased work, and I applaud the Secretary-General's decision to distance his good office from it", Haley said.

Local media reported the Palestinian president had spoken to Khalaf by phone and given her Palestine's Medal of the Highest Honor in recognition of her "courage and support" for Palestinians.

On the same day of the report's release, Khalaf said the "ignorance of the global community" in recent decades had "encouraged Israel to continue its abuses of worldwide law".

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