UN Official Resigns Over Report Accusing Israel of Apartheid

A senior United Nations official resigned on Friday after she was ordered to remove the report accusing Israel of establishing an apartheid regime from the internet. Washington denounced the report as propaganda and was published without the consent of Secretary-General António Guterres.

REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMIDPeople walk in front of the United Nations Headquarters in New York, July 31, 2008.

U.N. Under-Secretary-General Rima Khalaf said she was leaving after "powerful member states" had pressured the world body and its chief with "vicious attacks and threats." She is also the executive secretary of the United Nation's Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), a coalition of 18 Arab countries which produced the report.

"It is only normal for criminals to pressure and attack those who advocate the cause of their victims," Khalaf wrote in her resignation letter (via Reuters). Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Khalaf's resignation is appropriate, while Israel's U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon described it as "long overdue."

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric explained that the report was published without consultation with the U.N. secretariat.

"This is not about content, this is about process," he said. "The secretary-general cannot accept that an under-secretary general or any other senior U.N. official that reports to him would authorize the publication under the U.N. name, under the U.N. logo, without consulting the competent departments and even himself."

Fox News obtained documents indicating that the apartheid report was the first of three elements of a broader propaganda offensive pushed by ESCWA for the past two years and the release is timed for this year's 50th anniversary of the 1967 war between Arab states and Israel.

The second element is another report on the economic cost of Israel's 50-year occupation of Gaza Strip and the West Bank with the aim of demanding billions of reparations for the Palestinians. The third element is a propaganda campaign that would paint the Palestinians as victims.