Leaders from various Palestinian political factions have written a letter to the United Nations in protest against the removal of a report criticizing Israel for imposing an "apartheid regime" of racial discrimination on the Palestinian people.
The senior Palestinian political figures handed in the letter, addressed to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, to the world body’s office in Gaza City on Tuesday, bemoaning the deletion of the damming report championed by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).
“Our letter asks the UN secretary-general, in case he doesn’t believe in the media, to visit Israel to see the realities: the apartheid and injustice done against Palestinians by the Israeli Occupation. Our second message is for Rima Khalaf. We in the blockaded Gaza Strip thank such a heroine for publishing the report,” Sami Naem of the Palestinian Arab Front said.
“We are here today to reject and protest the UN secretary-general’s policy. The removal of the report only offers Israel an opportunity to continue its apartheid and racist policies. Today the secretary general proved the death of the United Nations’ consciousness by covering up Israeli crimes. We also thank brave Mrs. Khalaf for her report and decision,” Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Khaled al-Batsh stated.
Last Friday, Guterres had asked that the anti-Israel report be removed from the ESCWA’s website, a UN official said on condition of anonymity.
UN Under-Secretary General and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf reacts during a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon, on March 15, 2017.
Khalaf, the executive secretary of the UN agency, resigned from the UN post after refusing to withdraw a report that concluded, "Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.”
Israel later lauded the move, with its envoy to the UN, Danny Danon, thanking Guterres. Danon said in a statement that “the time has come to put an end to those using their status within the UN to promote anti-Israel activity.”
On Sunday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas awarded the highest Palestinian honor to Khalaf.