New York, 24 Jumadil Akhir 1438/23 March 2017 – Palestinian Authority Ambassador Riyad Mansour slammed on Wednesday evening the “bullying tactics and intimidation” that led to UN withdrawal of a report that accused Israel of establishing an “apartheid regime” against the Palestinians.
Mansour’s comments were released as an Arab delegation met with the UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres over the findings and repercussions of the report, the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) reported.
Mansour said the subject of the meeting with UN chief Antonio Guterres “was not a pleasant experience for all of us,” following the secretary-general’s order to remove the report from the UN website and the resignation of senior UN official Rima Khalaf after she refused to withdraw it.
“We care about the UN and the secretary-general, and we do not accept methods that are not in the culture of the United Nations,” Mansour said. “You know by that what I mean — some parties who are trying to inject bullying tactics and intimidation.”
He stressed that “it is our collective responsibility to do everything we can to defend the UN and what it stands for.”
Khalaf, a UN undersecretary-general who headed the Beirut-based UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) resigned Friday after refusing Guterres’s request to take the report off its website.
Its authors concluded that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that systematically institutionalizes racial oppression and domination of the Palestinian people as a whole.”
Mansour said even though the report had been taken off the UN website “I think it is in the hands of maybe hundreds of thousands of people anyway, because of publicity about its withdrawal.”
“Many people who were not even interested in the report are now interested and asking for copies, and it is provided to them,” he said.
The report was swiftly condemned by US and Israeli officials, who called on the UN to reject it.
The resignation of Khalaf, a Jordanian, and the removal of the report were welcomed by Israel and the United States, Israel’s closest ally.
Over the weekend, activists condemned the UN for scrapping the ESCWA report, and accused Guterres of giving in to politically motivated intimidation.(T/R04/RS5)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)