J Street applauds UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ removal from the Internet of the new United Nations report accusing Israel of practicing apartheid against the Palestinians. The report was published by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, a small UN affiliated body headquartered in Lebanon.
Reports like these undermine the credibility of UN agencies and the body as a whole on issues related to Israel. Unfairly and obsessively singling Israel out in international forums fuels the perception that the UN is too biased against Israel to play any role in advancing a conflict-ending two-state resolution with its neighbors. The UN must continue to take steps, as the Secretary-General did today, to eradicate hostile anti-Israel sentiment in its midst.
Further, describing the situation in all of Israel and the Palestinian territory as apartheid is a damaging oversimplification of a complex and challenging conflict. The rights enjoyed by Palestinians living within and outside the Green Line are radically different. Inside the Green Line, despite suffering from ongoing discrimination and inequality, Palestinian citizens of Israel enjoy full, democratic rights. In the West Bank, Palestinians are denied these fundamental rights, their freedom of movement is drastically limited and they are subject to Israeli military law. That is why, as the Palestinians enter their 50th year of disenfranchisement and occupation, we are gravely concerned about the path Israel is on.
We call on the UN to reject hateful bias against Israel in all its forms and to best position itself to advance the goal of a two-state solution and an end to the occupation.