United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Friday (March 17) accepted the resignation of the head of the body’s West Asia commission, after what she described as pressure from the secretary-general to withdraw a report accusing Israel of imposing an “apartheid regime” on Palestinians.
The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), which comprises 18 Arab states, published the report on Wednesday (March 15) and said it was the first time a U.N. body had clearly made the charge.
Guterres had asked the commission to remove the report from its website, a U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, adding that the report was published without consultation with the U.N. secretariat.
The report concluded “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole”. The accusation—often directed at Israel by its critics—is fiercely rejected by Israel.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman likened the report to anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda. The United States, Israel’s main ally, said it was outraged by the report.