Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations slammed the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) on Wednesday after the commission released a report accusing Israel of establishing “an apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.”
The report, titled “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid,” says 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.”
The Beirut-based commission slammed Israel’s Law of Return, “conferring on Jews worldwide the right to enter Israel and obtain Israeli citizenship regardless of their countries of origin and whether or not they can show links to Israel-Palestine, while withholding any comparable right from Palestinians, including those with documented ancestral homes in the country,” as a policy of “demographic engineering” meant to uphold Israel’s status as the Jewish state.
The report further accuses Israel of “practices” that have fragmented Palestinians, arguing that it is the “principal method by which Israel imposes an apartheid regime.”
“This fragmentation operates to stabilize the Israeli regime of racial domination over the Palestinians and to weaken the will and capacity of the Palestinian people to mount a unified and effective resistance,” the report reads.
Danny Danon, Israel’s UN envoy, hit back at the report, saying 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.”
“It comes as no surprise that an organization headed by an individual who has called for boycotts against Israel, and compared our democracy to the most terrible regimes of the twentieth century, would publish such a report. We call on the Secretary General to disassociate the UN from this biased and deceitful report,” he said in reference to ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf, a Jordanian national.
The report was compiled by Richard Falk, a Princeton professor emeritus with a long track record of vehemently anti-Israel rhetoric who previously was the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Palestine, and by Virginia Tilley, an American political scientist who authored the book “The One-State Solution” in 2005.
At a press conference accompanying the release of the report, Falk said the document and its findings “come after 50 years of frustrated diplomacy that failed to find a way to liberate the Palestinian people from oppression and denial of rights.”
Tilley said “it has become entirely clear that we’re longer talking about risk of apartheid but practice of apartheid.”
“There is an urgency for a response as Palestinians are currently suffering from this regime,” she said.