‘Despicable lie & smear’: Israel fires back at UN’s ‘apartheid regime’ report
The UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) report published Wednesday accuses Israel “beyond a reasonable doubt” of being guilty of “policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid” against the Palestinian people.
The report says that Israel is guilty of pursuing a policy of “strategic fragmentation” of the Palestinians as the “principal method” by which Israel imposes an apartheid regime.
“This fragmentation operates to stabilize the Israeli regime of racial domination over the Palestinians and to weaken the will and capacity of the Palestinian people to mount a unified and effective resistance,” the Beirut-based commission report said.
Israel, the report says, is trying to dominate over the 1.7 million Palestinians who are citizens of Israel by offering them inferior services, limited budget allocations and restrictions on jobs and professional opportunities. Some 300,000 Palestinian residents in East Jerusalem suffer discrimination from inadequate access to education, health care, employment, in addition to residency and building rights.
“They also suffer from expulsions and home demolitions, which serve the Israeli policy of 'demographic balance' in favor of Jewish residents,” the report says.
Those 4.7 million Palestinians who live in West Bank and 1.9 million in the Gaza Strip, the report claims, suffer the most, as they are governed by military law, while some 350,000 Jewish settlers are accountable to Israeli civil law.
“The territory is administered in a manner that fully meets the definition of apartheid under the Apartheid Convention: except for the provision on genocide, every illustrative ‘inhuman act’ listed in the Convention is routinely and systematically practiced by Israel in the West Bank,” the commission discovered.
Furthermore, millions of Palestinian refugees are “prohibited” from returning to their homes and are being deterred from doing so in a “frankly racist language.” According to the authors of the report, Israel justifies the policy by saying that Palestinians constitute a “demographic threat” and that their return would “alter the demographic character of Israel to the point of eliminating it as a Jewish State.”
The ESCWA report concludes that Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people, “which amounts to the commission of a crime against humanity.”
The Israeli UN ambassador Danny Danon immediately denounced the damning ESCWA report calling the findings a “despicable lie.”
The report is an “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,” Danon said.
He accused the authors of the report of bias, and the envoy specifically singled out the ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf, a Jordanian national.
“It comes as no surprise that an organization headed by an individual who has called for boycotts against Israel, and compared our democracy to the most terrible regimes of the twentieth century, would publish such a report,” the ambassador noted, as reported by the Times of Israel.
The UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres was quick to distance himself from ESCWA document. His spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said that “the report as it stands does not reflect the views of the secretary-general” and was issued without consultations with the UN secretariat.
The United States also criticized the report calling its findings "biased" and labeling it as "anti-Israel propaganda."
“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,” UN ambassador Nikki Haley said in a statement late Wednesday.
Haley has also called on the UN to withdraw the report, as she went after one of the authors of the probe, Richard Falk, a Princeton professor emeritus.
“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," Haley said. "The United Nations Secretariat was right to distance itself from this report, but it must go further and withdraw the report altogether."
Emmanuel Nahshon, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, compared ESCWA's findings to Nazi propaganda.
“Friendly advice — don’t read it without anti-nausea pills,” he tweeted.