(16 March 2017) BADIL welcomes the UN report on Israeli Regime of Apartheid

PR/EN/160317/19

A report by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) concluded “that the weight of the evidence supports beyond a reasonable doubt the proposition that Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people”.[1]

ESCWA is one of five regional commissions created by the United Nations (UN) to “fulfil the economic and social goals set out in the [United Nations] Charter by promoting cooperation and integration between countries in each region of the world.”[2] International experts, Richard Falk, former Special Rapporteur to the occupied Palestinian territories, and Virginia Tilley, Professor of Political Science were commission by ESCWA to perform the study and author the report.

While the report bears the emblem of the UN, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric declared that its views do not reflect those of the secretary-general. However, the report is still significant as it has reinitiated previous assessment of the Israeli regime of domination which was undermined or set a side under the guise of the peace process, through which the root causes of conflict and fundamental human rights were not addressed. Likewise, Israeli officials were quick to denounce the validity of the report.[3]

Despite the controversy surrounding the findings of the report, it sites a plethora of evidence and examines Israeli practices and policies through a methodical legal lens (utilizing pertinent conventions and treaties of international human rights law). It is perhaps because the report excruciatingly examines the applicability of apartheid to the Israeli regime, sheds lights on the root causes of the ongoing conflict, and triggers the legal responsibilities and duties of States, UN bodies and agencies and international civil society that it is met with such opposition.

BADIL strongly endorses both the findings and recommendations of the report, particularly the recommendation for the United Nations to seek another advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ).[4]
 

Update 21 March 2017:

Since publishing this press release, the Secretary-General of the UN, Mr. António Guterres, requested the report be withdrawn from the ESCWA website, siting procedural issues rather content issues. The ESCWA executive secretary, Mrs. Rima Khalaf, complied with the request but also immediately submitted her resignation from the UN.[5] 

 

The full report can be found here.

 

[1] Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), “Israeli Practices toward the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid, Palestine and the Israeli Occupation, Issue No.1”, Executive Summary, 2017, 7.  https://www.unescwa.org/sites/www.unescwa.org/files/publications/files/israeli-practices-palestinian-people-apartheid-occupation-english.pdf
[2] ESCWA, About ESCWA, accessed on 16 March 2017, https://www.unescwa.org/about-escwa
[3] Ben White, “UN Report: Israel has established an ‘apartheid regime’”, Al-Jazeera. Accessed 16 March 2017, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/03/report-israel-established-apartheid-regime-170315054053798.html 
[4] ESCWA, “Israeli Practices toward the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid,” 2017, 54. https://www.unescwa.org/sites/www.unescwa.org/files/publications/files/israeli-practices-palestinian-people-apartheid-occupation-english.pdf. The ICJ issued on advisory opinion on the wall in 2004.
[5]  The Palestinian Information Center (PIC), “Rima Khalaf, executive secretary of ESCWA, resigns,” Editor’s Choice, english.palinfo.com18 March 2017, accessed on 21 March 2017. https://english.palinfo.com/24661