UN

Swift Reaction to U.N. “Apartheid State” Report

3461261913

U.N. Under-Secretary General and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf was fired after refusing to withdraw a report declaring Israel an “apartheid state.” (photo: Mohamed Azakir / Reuters)

Heads roll after publication of damning report.

March 26, 2017

Reaction has been fast and furious to the publication of the report, “Israeli Practices Toward the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid,” by the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA).

This report concludes that Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole. Aware of the seriousness of this allegation, the authors of the report conclude that available evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid as legally defined in instruments of international law.

Israel and its allies condemned the report and its authors. (Independent)

“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.”
—Danny Danon, Israeli Ambassador to the U.N.

“The United Nations secretariat was right to distance itself from this report, but it must go further and withdraw the report altogether.”
— Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.

Newly-installed U.N. Secretary General Antonió Guterres demanded the retraction of the report, which U.N. Undersecretary General Rima Khalaf, Executive Secretary of the UN-ESCWA, refused. She was subsequently dismissed, and the report was withdrawn. Read her resignation letter here. (New York Times, Haaretz)

After giving the matter due consideration, I realized that I too have little choice. I cannot withdraw yet another well-researched, well-documented U.N. work on grave violations of human rights, yet I know that clear instructions by the Secretary-General will have to be implemented promptly. A dilemma that can only be resolved by my stepping down to allow someone else to deliver what I am unable to deliver in good conscience.

Richard Falk, one of the authors of the report, Princeton University professor and former U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in Palestine, describes the thorough process behind the report in an editorial. (The Nation)

Our report concludes that Israel has deliberately fragmented the Palestinian people . . . relying on systematic discrimination . . . to maintain its control, while continuing to expand territorially at the expense of the Palestinian people. On the basis of these findings — backed up by detailed presentations of empirical data, including reliance on Israeli official sources — we conclude that the allegation of apartheid as applied to the Palestinian people is well founded.

palestinian_woman_idf_rtr_img

A Palestinian woman argues with Israeli soldiers at a West Bank checkpoint south of Hebron on Aug 16, 2016. (photo: Mussa Qawasma / Reuters)

(more…)

U.N. Report Says Israel an “Apartheid State”

wall

Palestinian boys are seen outside artist Banksy’s newly opened Walled Off hotel in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on March 3. The British street artist recently opened the hotel next to Israel’s separation wall. (photo: Thomas Coex / AFP / Getty Images)

If being an apartheid state means committing inhumane acts, systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over another, then Israel is guilty, a United Nations panel has determined in a new report.

By Ruth Eglash / The Washington Post
March 16, 2017


“[Concluding that Israel has established an apartheid regime] is not an easy matter for a United Nations entity. In recent years, some have labeled Israeli practices as racist, while others have warned that Israel risks becoming an apartheid state. A few have raised the question as to whether in fact it already has.”
— Rima Khalaf, U.N. Undersecretary General


Titled, “Israeli Practices Toward the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid,” the report was written by Richard Falk, a former U.N. special rapporteur to the Palestinian territories known for harsh criticisms of both Israel and the United States, and Virginia Tilley, professor of political science at Southern Illinois University.

The two concluded that Israel has established an apartheid regime aimed at dominating the Palestinians. Their recommendations include reviving the U.N. Center Against Apartheid, which closed in 1994 after South Africa ended its apartheid practices. . . .

Dividing the Palestinian people into four distinct groups, the authors write that although they are treated differently by Israel, they all face “the racial oppression that results from the apartheid regime.”

(more…)

One-State, Two-State

un-resolution2334-vote

By Sarah Robinson
December 31, 2016

[Sarah Robinson is a volunteer with the World Council of Churches who has written about Israel-Palestine since 2012. On Oct 17, 2016, she was refused entry to Israel at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv and deported . — Ed.]


In my opinion, [no] solutions are viable without visionary leadership and the willingness to compromise. Recalling the experience of South Africa, bold leadership and compromise brought apartheid to an end, and I believe the same is needed in Israel and Palestine. . . . I believe the appetite of both populations indicates that they are willing to start these talks but the lack of real leadership is restraining any progress.


This week, the Israel-Palestine conflict was nudged into the international spotlight. Last Friday, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) voted in favor of Resolution 2334 condemning the proliferation of settlement development and expansion in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Usually, the United States (US) vetoes such resolutions but on Friday they abstained from voting thereby allowing the resolution to pass. Israel was quick to respond with damning language, threatening rhetoric, and victimized aggression. Originally, Egypt put the resolution forward to the UNSC, but after receiving pressure from president-elect Donald Trump, withdrew the application. Thus, a random mix of countries, including New Zealand and Venezuela, resubmitted the resolution which went to a vote. Israel has since accused New Zealand of declaring war in their action to present Resolution 2334 to the UNSC.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry, gave a 1 hour 13-minute speech in Washington DC justifying the US choice to abstain, summarizing the history of US-Israel relations, UN resolutions, and peace negotiations, and outlining five principles to a solution and lasting peace. It was a good speech and it elicited swift condemnation from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, the speech was about twenty years too late. It rehashed positions and policies that have been ignored or bypassed for decades and although it sounded good, with less than three weeks remaining in the White House, the Obama administration is grasping at proverbial straws. Secretary Kerry pleaded with Israel to not execute the two-state solution but, in my opinion, the death of the two-state solution took place years ago, and this latest activity will not resuscitate it.

(more…)

APN Statement at UN Security Council

Americans for Peace Now Statement Delivered at the United Nations Security Council

By Lara Friedman / Americans for Peace Now
October 14, 2016


The full statement can be viewed as a pdf here.
Watch the full testimony here.
View the post-meeting press conference here.


Distinguished members of the Security Council,

As a representative of Americans for Peace Now — an organization that is committed to Israel’s existence and its future — it is not easy for me to speak before this body today.

It is not easy because while this forum will focus in large part on human rights violations by Israel, there are states represented here whose own human rights records are abysmal. There are even states in this forum that still do not recognize the existence of Israel, 70 years after that nation’s birth and despite its membership in the UN’s General Assembly.

It is also not easy for me to speak here today because of the deteriorating political climate in Israel as far as democracy is concerned. For some time now we have been witnessing an ugly campaign against courageous Israeli human rights and civil society NGOs — carried out by reactionary groups in Israel and by the Israeli government itself. Campaigns that target the legitimacy of NGOs like our Israeli sister organization, Shalom Achshav — Peace Now.

These groups are being targeted because their work reveals facts that some prefer to hide — facts that challenge the official Israeli government narrative.

Yet, I am here today because this institution is too important to boycott or ignore. The Security Council is the most important international body in existence today.

It would be irresponsible to miss an opportunity to argue our cause in front of it. It would be unpardonable to allow ourselves to be silenced by the cynicism of some of this body’s member states, whose hatred of Israel may blind them to Israel’s legitimate needs and fears. And it would be inexcusable to allow ourselves to be silenced by the disapproval of some who today equate speaking unpleasant truths about Israeli policies with national betrayal.

I am here today because the cause that we work for every day is too important to allow anyone to silence us.

[Continue reading here . . . ]