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UN agency head resigns after Israel 'apartheid report'

Rima Khalaf announced her resignation at a hastily-arranged press conference in Beirut on Friday [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 17 March, 2017

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Rima Khalaf announced her resignation at a hastily-arranged press conference in Beirut on Friday, after refusing to withdraw the report that concludes that Israel has established an apartheid regime.
The head of a Lebanon-based United Nations agency that promotes development in Arab countries has resigned, after refusing to withdraw a report that concluded Israel has established an apartheid regime, under pressure from the US.

Rima Khalaf, a Jordanian who heads the Beirut-based ESCWA, announced her resignation at a hastily-arranged press conference in the Lebanese capital on Friday.

Khalaf's resignation comes after "achieving a key objective, which was to publish the report which highlighted clear and frank unjust and racist policies by Israel against the Palestinian people," a source close to Khalaf told The New Arab.

"Now the report is an official UN document."

The report, which was published earlier this week by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, found that Palestinians were subjected to a "strategic fragmentation" that allowed Israel to impose "racial domination" with different sets of laws by geographic regions.

The analysis showed "beyond a reasonable doubt" that "Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people, which amounts to the commission of a crime against humanity."

Its authors concluded that "Israel has established an apartheid regime that systematically institutionalizes racial oppression and domination of the Palestinian people as a whole."

The report drew swift criticism Israeli and US officials. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was quick to distance himself from the report.

Based in Beirut, ESCWA is comprised of 18 Arab countries, according to its site, which lists the state of Palestine as a full member, and works to strengthen cooperation and promote development.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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