Beirut (Online): A senior United Nations official, Rima Khalaf, has resigned over pressure from Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to withdraw the landmark report published earlier this week finding Israel guilty of apartheid.
The report accused Israel of imposing an apartheid regime on Palestinians. Lebanon-based Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), which comprises 18 Arab states, published the report on Wednesday and said it was the first time a UN body had clearly made the charge.
Khalaf said at a press conference in Beirut, “It was expected that Israel and its allies will exercise pressure on the UN secretary-general to distance himself from the report and that they will ask him to withdraw it.”
She further stated, “I resigned because it is my duty not to conceal a clear crime, and I stand by all the conclusions of the report.”
Rima Khalaf, a national of Jordan, was appointed as undersecretary-general of the UN and Executive Secretary of the ESCWA by the then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2010.
Before her UN role Khalaf held several high-ranking ministerial positions in Jordan, including minister of industry and Trade, minister of planning and deputy prime minister.
Khalaf also held the position of assistant secretary-general and director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States (RBAS) at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) from 2000 to 2006.