UN head forced to resign over Israel apartheid report

UN Under-Secretary-General Rima Khalaf (Photo: Anadolu Agency)

UN Under-Secretary General Rima Khalaf resigned after pressure from the UN to withdraw a report accusing Israel of imposing an apartheid regime on Palestinians.

UN’s Beirut-based Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) published a report on Wednesday stating that Israel has imposed a system of apartheid in order to maintain racial domination over the Palestinian people.

Khalaf had called the report the first of its kind, “clearly and frankly concludes that Israel is a racist state that has established an apartheid system that persecutes the Palestinian people.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who had immediately distanced himself from the report, insisted for it to be taken off the ESCWA website. Khalaf announced her resignation at a news conference in Beirut on Friday saying Guterres pressure was behind her leave.

“We expected of course that Israel and its allies would put huge pressure on the secretary general of the UN so that he would disavow the report, and that they would ask him to withdraw it,” Khalaf was quoted as saying by AFP news agency in Beirut.

The report, which sparked an immediate outcry, was authored by Richard Falk, a former UN human rights investigator for the Palestinian territories, and Virginia Tilley, professor of political science at Southern Illinois University.