United Nations / 16-03-2017
UN report: Israel imposes 'apartheid regime' on Palestinians
A UN agency published a report accusing Israel of imposing an "apartheid regime" of racial discrimination on the Palestinian people, and said it was the first time a UN body had clearly made the charge.
The report commissioned by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) 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 the Jewish state.
UN Under-Secretary General and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf said the report was the "first of its type" from a UN body that "clearly and frankly concludes that Israel is a racist state that has established an apartheid system that persecutes the Palestinian people".
Khalaf was speaking at an event to launch the report at ESCWA's Beirut headquarters. ESCWA comprises 18 Arab states in Western Asia, according to its website. Its aims include to support economic and social development in member states. The report was prepared at the request of member states, Khalaf said.
The report said it had established on the "basis of scholarly inquiry and overwhelming evidence, that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid". However, only a ruling by an international tribunal in that sense would make such an assessment truly authoritative," it added.
The report said the "strategic fragmentation of the Palestinian people" was the main method through which Israel imposes apartheid, with Palestinians divided into four groups oppressed through "distinct laws, policies and practices".
It identified the four sets of Palestinians as: Palestinian citizens of Israel; Palestinians in east Jerusalem; Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; and Palestinians living as refugees or in exile.