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UN report to equate Israel’s policies to slavery in the US

Hollywood actor Richard Gere made the same connection when he visited occupied Hebron last month

A United Nations body has announced that it will be publishing a new report on Israel which will equate the country’s economic impact on Palestinians to the impact of slavery on the US.

The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) has said that its upcoming report will attempt to estimate the financial impact of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, looking at the example of slavery in the US.

This comes on the back of another report published by ESCWA earlier this month, which accused Israel “beyond a reasonable doubt” of being guilty of “policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid” against the Palestinian people.

Three days after the report’s publication, ESCWA head Rima Khalaf resigned following pressure from the UN secretary-general and US and Israeli officials. The paper itself was removed from the commission’s website.

Download the full UN ESCWA report

The report also follows a high profile visit to occupied Palestine by the Hollywood actor, Richard Gere, at the end of last month. While walking through the town of Hebron the movie star mentioned that the Israeli occupation reminded him of the segregation between black and whites in America saying: “It’s exactly what the Old South was in America. Blacks knew where they could go: they could drink from that fountain, they couldn’t go over there, and they couldn’t eat in that place.”

The report could be published in June to mark the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, when Arab East Jerusalem was annexed under Israeli control in 1967. Israel also gained control of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, is said to be working with senior officials in the UN to thwart the report’s publication.

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