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March 17, 2017 1:02 pm

Top UN Official Resigns Over Pressure to Withdraw Report That Accused Israel of Imposing ‘Apartheid Regime’ on the Palestinians

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Rima Khalaf. Photo: Chatham House via Wikimedia Commons.

The head of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) has resigned over pressure she said she received from Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to withdraw a report published earlier this week that accused Israel of establishing an “apartheid regime” that “dominates the Palestinian people as a whole,” according to Reuters.

Under Secretary-General and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf made the announcement on Friday in Beirut, Lebanon — where the 18-member ESCWA is headquartered.

As of Friday, a link to the report could no longer be found on the front page of the ESCWA website.

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US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley welcomed the news, saying in a statement, “When someone issues a false and defamatory report in the name of the UN, it is appropriate that the person resign. 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.”

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon also praised Guterres, stating, “The secretary-general’s decision is an important step in ending the bias against Israel at the UN. Anti-Israel activists do not belong in the UN. It is time to put an end to practice in which UN officials use their position to advance their anti-Israel agenda.”

“Over the years,” Danon continued, “Khalaf has worked to harm Israel and advocate for the BDS movement. Her removal from the UN is long overdue.”

On Wednesday, after the publication of the report — which was authored by Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley — Haley slammed it, saying, “That such anti-Israel propaganda would come from a body whose membership nearly universally does not recognize Israel is unsurprising. That it was drafted by Richard Falk, a man who has repeatedly made biased and deeply offensive comments about Israel and espoused ridiculous conspiracy theories, including about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, is equally unsurprising.”

“The United States stands with our ally Israel and will continue to oppose biased and anti-Israel actions across the UN system and around the world,” she continued.

A number of top US Jewish groups — including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, World Jewish Congress, B’nai B’rith International and the Anti-Defamation League — also issued strong condemnations of the report.

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