Palestinians Welcome It
The US and Israel are demanding that the United Nations withdraw a report by a UN commission accusing Israel of imposing apartheid on the Palestinians. It is believed to be the first time that the UN has published an official document accusing Israel of apartheid.
A spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that “the report as it stands does not reflect the views of the secretary-general” and said it was done without consultations.” US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley went much further.
“The United States is outraged by the report,”Haley said in a statement. “The United Nations secretariat wsa right to distance itself from this report, but it must go further and withdraw the report altogether.”
The report was issued by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWAS), which is based in Beirut and comprised of 18 Arab states in western Asia, most of which do not recognize Israel. The report concluded that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole,” a claim sharply rejected by Israel.
“#UN #ESCWA has issued today a “der Stermer” like report, NOT endorsed by UN Secretary General. Friendly advice—don’t read it without anti-nausea pills,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon tweeted sharply, comparing the report to the strongly anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda newspaper.
“I think my tweet says it all,” Nachshon told The Media Line later.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon slammed the commission report.
He said that 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 then continued with a personal attack on the head of the commission, Rima Khalaf, a Jordanian woman who has called for boycotts on Israel.
“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 20th century would publish such a report,” he said.
But there were also some who welcomed the report.
It could be the “very first beam of light that ushers the dawn of sanctions against Israel,” Omar Barghouti, the leader of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) told reporters. The BDS movement has long promoted the connection between Israel and apartheid. Israeli officials say the analogy is incorrect as Israel has not annexed the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
“That is a laughable argument especially coming from people who don’t support the two-state solution,” Xavier Abu Eid, a spokesman for the PLO told The Media Line. “The whole international community recognizes that there is an ongoing occupation.”
As for the report, he said, “So far, all of the criticism I’ve heard are personal attacks against UN diplomats or the authors of the report. I haven’t seen any criticism of what’s happening in the occupied state of Palestine.”
The PLO, along with much of the international community, says that the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in 1967 during the Six Day War, must become an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. While Israel has annexed east Jerusalem, and in fact, sharply expanded the municipal boundaries of the city to annex part of the West Bank, its policy is that the future status of the territories must be determined in bilateral negotiations.
Until recently, that was the US position as well. US President Donald Trump seemed to question that when he told a news conference that he would accept any solution that the parties agreed on, and it did not matter if it was one state or two states.
Trump’s envoy Jason Greenblatt is currently in the region, meeting with both the Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said they were trying to reach an understanding on Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank.
Some in the Israeli government are calling for Israel to impose sovereignty on the 60 percent of the West Bank that is under sole Israeli control.