United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers his speech during the 53rd Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, February 18, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle - RTSZ8OX

United Nations: Report accusing Israel as an “apartheid regime” doesn’t reflect the position of the Secretary General

The spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said a UN agency report, which accuses Israel of imposing an “apartheid regime” of racial discrimination on the Palestinian people, “does not reflect the views of the secretary-general, nor that of the United Nations.” The report was commissioned by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, an organization that consists out of 18 Arab states, most of which do not have diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, including Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Sudan, among others, as well as the Palestinian Authority itself, which is a non-member state at the United Nations. The report took Secretary General Guterres by surprise, as his spokesman noted that he had never been consulted about the substance of the document, while stressing that the authors themselves emphasized that the report reflected only their position. 

 “We just saw the report today, which was, as you say, it was published by ESCWA (Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia). It was done so without any prior consultations with the secretariat, and the report as it stands does not reflect the views of the secretary-general. I would add that there is, that the report, the publication itself, it says that the report and its findings and conclusions are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.N,” said Stephane Dujarric, UN Secretary General spokesman. 

The United Nations Under-Secretary General, who heads the world body’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, said the importance of the report, even though rejected by the UN Secretary General as a one-sided document, was a first of its kind that was published by one of the United Nations’ bodies which concludes Israel as a racist state that established an apartheid system. 

“The importance of this report is not only because it is the first of its kind, that is published by one of the United Nations’ bodies that clearly and frankly concludes that Israel is a racist state that has established an apartheid system that persecutes the Palestinian people, but also it sheds light on the essence of the Palestinian cause and the conditions [needed] for accomplishing peace,’’ Rima Khalaf, UN Under-Secretary General & ESCWA Executive-Secretary.

The report was authored by Richard Falk, a former UN human rights investigator for the Palestinian territories – a man Israel accused of anti-Semitic statements on several occasions and denied him entry-visa into Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip – and Virginia Tilley, professor of political science at the US’ Southern Illinois University, who has written several articles condemning Israel, in which she accused the Jewish state of Apartheid and Colonialism. She also argues that Israel’s settlements, on lands the Palestinians demand for their future state, has made the aspired two state solution obsolete. In response to the report, Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Emanuel Nahshon likened the report to ‘Der Sturmer’ – a Nazi propaganda publication that was strongly anti-Semitic.