This week another United Nations report has proved highly controversial. Released on Wednesday 15th March by the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the report is titled: ‘Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid.’ It concludes 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.’
UNESCWA report on Israeli Practices ...
This is thought to be the first time that a UN body has directly accused Israel of adopting apartheid practices against the Arab people. It is a ‘politically explosive assertion that led to furious denunciations by Israel and the United States.’
But when the membership of ESCWA is considered, this assertion is not so surprising. ESCWA comprises 18 Arab states in Western Asia: Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, The Sudan, The Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, The United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Most of those states do not even recognize Israel.
Yet this publication gives an insight into the political battles now being fought over Israel at the so-called ‘United Nations.’ Because ESCWA didn’t follow normal procedures in publishing their report. UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said that
“the report as it stands does not reflect the views of the secretary-general,”
and she added that the report was made without any coordination with the UN secretariat.
The USA’s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, described the report as “anti-Israel propaganda”, adding that,
“The United States is outraged by the report … The United Nations secretariat was right to
distance itself from this report, but it must go further and withdraw the report altogether.”
US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley
So it will be interesting to see whether this report will be withdrawn. And it looks as if the battles over Israel at the UN are set to continue.