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Rima Khalaf is an Arab upholding freedom

BEIRUT, LEBANON - MARCH 15: UN Under-Secretary General and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf delivers a speech during a press conference on a report in Beirut, Lebanon on March 15, 2017. (Ratib Al Safadi - Anadolu Agency)
UN Under-Secretary General and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf on March 17, 2017 [Muhammed Ali Akman/Anadolu Agency]

The UN-ESCWA report did not mention anything new or different from the situation on the ground in Palestine. The report, which was supervised by human rights experts – headed by Jewish activist Dr Richard Falk – concludes that Israel is a racist state that established an Apartheid regime, which persecutes the Palestinian people. This regime divided the Palestinians into four “domains” who are oppressed by means of discriminatory laws, policies and practices. The report states that the first domain are the Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, the second domain are the Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, the third are the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while the fourth are the Palestinians living abroad, either as refugees or in exile.

Everything that was mentioned in the report are facts regarding the suffering of the Palestinian people, and the details of this suffering is lived by all the Arab nations and looked on with disgust by all the people in the world. This is what angered the UN secretary-general, who was humiliated by his organisation’s failure to take a humanitarian step in the right direction.

The cover of the UN-ESCWA report "Israeli Practices Towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid"

The cover of the UN-ESCWA report “Israeli Practices Towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid”

The UN secretary-general’s request that Rima Khalaf withdraw this objective report backed up by facts is not as much an insult and disregard for the efforts and capabilities of those who prepared the report as much as it is an act disregarding the credibility and integrity of the UN itself, and this is an act of disrespect to humanity, who view Khalaf as a representative of them. Therefore, Khalaf’s resignation from her job was a message of freedom knocking on the doors of living consciences across the world. This resignation disproves the claims of US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, who lost his eligibility as a human being when he claimed that the report was biased against Israel despite the fact that he has witnessed with his own eyes Israel besieging over two million people in the Gaza Strip and hears how Israel is preventing the return of Palestinian refugees scattered around the world. He has also seen how Israel discriminates between Arab Israeli citizens and Jewish Israeli citizens living within the 1948 borders and how Israel prohibits Palestinians in the West Bank from building hospitals, factories, or even offices for international organisations on 62 per cent of the West Bank.

If America’s leaders, Israel’s sponsors, have the right to disavow human values ​​and reject the UN report, and if the report is a disgrace to the UN secretary-general, then it is national and moral duty of Arab leaders to adopt everything in the ESCWA report. It is also their duty to invite Khalaf to participate in the Arab Summit Conference with her report, which should be the main focus.

History books will record the fact that the Arab countries have women who rejected humiliation at a time when values have declined. These Arab women refused to allow their pure beings to be compromised or cheated, and they are represented by Khalaf who did not hesitate, for even a moment, to say the truth in the face of an unjust secretary-general. Khalaf did not pause for even a moment to make the decision between taking a courageous stand or accepting bribery and financial temptations. She chose her civilised values and principles and her personal dignity became a crown on the heads of humanity.

Translated from Felesteen, 20 March 2017

Download the full UN ESCWA report

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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International OrganisationsIsraelMiddle EastOpinionPalestineUN
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