Reuters BEIRUT (Reuters) — The leader of the Lebanese Hizbollah movement denounced the United Nations on Saturday as weak after the withdrawal of a report accusing Israel of imposing an “apartheid regime” on Palestinians.
A senior U.N. official resigned on Friday after the secretary general asked her to remove the report, published by the United Nation’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), from the internet.
U.N. Under Secretary General and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf said she was leaving after “powerful member states” had pressured the world body and its chief with “vicious attacks and threats.”
Hizbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech on Saturday that the incident served as a reminder of the “truth of this organization, that it’s weak ... and it succumbs to the will of the United States and Israel.”
The U.N. is “incapable of taking a stand” and the debacle over the report proved it cannot be counted on “to defend human rights in our region,” he said.
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, also criticized the decision and called on the report to be reinstated.
ESCWA, which comprises 18 Arab states, published the report on Wednesday and said it was the first time a U.N. body had clearly charged that Israel “has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.”
Israel fiercely rejects the allegation, often directed at it by its critics, and likened the report to Der Sturmer — a Nazi propaganda publication that was strongly anti-Semitic.
The United States, an ally of Israel, had said it was outraged and demanded the report be withdrawn.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said Friday that Khalaf’s resignation was appropriate and Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon said it was “long overdue.”