AJC: Bias Revealed in Senior UN Official's Praise for Report's Attack on Israel

Mar 05, 2014, 12:05 ET from American Jewish Committee

NEW YORK, March 5, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC is profoundly disappointed with a senior UN official's endorsement of blatant attacks on Israel in a new UN report on economic integration in the Arab world.

Rima Khalaf, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), declared that the report accuses Israel of a "flagrant breach of all international conventions and resolutions" and of supporting "discord aimed at establishing sectarian Arab mini-States."

Khalaf also declared that "Israel's adamancy that it is a Jewish State...violates the rights of both the Muslim and Christian indigenous populations and revives the concept of a state ethnic and religious purity, which cause egregious human suffering during the twentieth century."

The report, Arab Integration: A 21st Century Development Imperative, is a product of the UN commission that the Beirut-based Khalaf heads.

"The accusations leveled at Israel, highlighted by Under-Secretary General Khalaf, are a gross distortion of reality that helps neither the cause of peace or of regional Arab development," said AJC Executive Director David Harris.

"Israel has accepted the concept of a two-state solution," said Harris. "But achieving that outcome, in the interest of reciprocity, requires the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people just as Israel would recognize the future Palestinian state as the nation-state of the Palestinian people. Israel also remains committed to guaranteeing equal rights to all its citizens, Jews and Arabs alike."

Harris expressed regret that Khalaf praised the Arab Integration report's blatant attacks on Israel.

"The UN Charter is clear that UN officials 'shall refrain from any action which might reflect on their position as international officials responsible only to the Organization,'" Harris said.  "By acting on her prejudices against a UN member state, Under-Secretary General Khalaf has betrayed her fundamental responsibility as an international official."

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SOURCE American Jewish Committee