The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon. (Wikimedia Commons)
A new report by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), titled “Israeli Practices Toward the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid,” concludes that the country has established an “apartheid regime.”
Its authors conclude that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that systematically institutionalizes racial oppression and domination of the Palestinian people as a whole. “
Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon issued a statement condemning the report.
“The attempt to smear and falsely label the only true democracy in the Middle East by creating a false analogy is despicable and constitutes a blatant lie,” he said.
ESCWA released the report during a Wednesday press conference at its headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon. The United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCWA’s Executive Secretary, Rima Khalaf, said that it was not easy to reach this conclusion.
“Khalaf noted that Israel, encouraged by the international community’s disregard for its continual violations of international law, has succeeded over the past decades in imposing and maintaining an apartheid regime that works on two levels,” states an ESCWA release. “First, the political and geographic fragmentation of the Palestinian people which enfeebles their capacity for resistance and makes it almost impossible for them to change the reality on the ground. Secondly, the oppression of all Palestinians through an array of laws, policies and practices that ensure domination of them by a racial group and serve to maintain the regime.”
The report was co-written by Richard Falk, a Princeton professor and former United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in Palestine, and Virginia Tilley, a political scientist who has done extensive research on ethnic conflict.
The American ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, labeled the report “anti-Israel propaganda” in a statement released Wednesday.
“U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric, when asked about the report, said it was published without any prior consultations with the U.N. Secretariat and its views do not reflect those of the secretary-general,” AP continues. “When asked who commissioned the report and who reviewed it, he said: ‘That’s a question to ask of ESCWA. It’s a report commissioned by ESCWA, and I would refer your questions to ESCWA.’”
ESCWA, however, maintains the conclusion of the report and argues for its findings throughout Wednesday’s press release, going so far as to recommend “States, Governments and institutions” to support boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
“Khalaf concluded that the report recognizes that only a ruling by an international tribunal would lend its conclusion that Israel is an apartheid State greater authority,” the press release states. “It recommends the revival of the United Nations Centre against Apartheid and the Special Committee against Apartheid, the work of both of which came to an end by 1994, when the world believed that it had rid itself of apartheid with its demise in South Africa.”
—Posted by Emma Niles