Ashrawi denounces United Nations decision to remove the ESCWA report on Israeli apartheid

Posted March 20, 2017

As of shortly after noon Friday, a previous link to the report yielded an error message and the report was not listed among the publications on the website for the ESCWA, an agency based in Beirut, Lebanon that is comprised of 18 Arab member states, including what is identified as the State of Palestine.

Israel and the United States did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Khalaf's letter.

Khalaf added that she stands by the commission's report.

Hanan Ashrawi on Saturday has denounced the decision by the United Nations to remove the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) report from its website which concluded that "Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid as legally defined in instruments of worldwide law".

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The report had accused that the "strategic fragmentation of the Palestinian people" was the main way Israel imposes apartheid, with Palestinian people oppressed through "distinct laws, policies and practices".

The ESCWA report was prepared by Richard Falk, an global law expert and former United Nations human rights rapporteur for the occupied Palestinian territories and, Virginia Tilley, a political science professor and Israeli affairs expert.

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the report was published without prior consultation with the United Nations secretariat.

The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), which comprises 18 Arab states, published the report on Wednesday (March 15) and said it was the first time a United Nations body had clearly made the charge. "U.N. 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".

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USA envoy to the UN Nikki Haley, who had demanded the report's withdrawal last week, said in a statement: "When someone issues a false and defamatory report in the name of the United States, it is appropriate that the person resign".

US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, reacted to Khalaf's resignation and said it was appropriate, Reuters reported.

The ESCWA report said it had established on the "basis of scholarly inquiry and overwhelming evidence, that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid". "Let me be clear, the report was issued... and has impacts".

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