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    Palestinian protestors stand facing the Israeli settlement of Qadumim (Kedumim) during clashes with Israeli security forces following a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the village of Kfar Qaddum, near Nablus, in the occupied West Bank on December 30, 2016

    UN Official Forced to Quit in Wake of Report Exposing Israeli Apartheid

    © AFP 2019 / JAAFAR ASHTIYEH
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    A high-ranking UN diplomat was forced to resign on Friday after refusing to withdraw a report lambasting Israel as an apartheid state, and international controversy is swirling.

    The UN report by Jordanian diplomat Rima Khalaf, which has come under attack by the UN secretary-general, states that there is enough evidence to assert that Israel is imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people.

    Lara Kiswani, executive director of the Arab Resource & Organizing Center, told Radio Sputnik's Brian Becker there is no doubt that Palestinians living in the state of Israel and in the occupied territory of the West Bank have experienced discrimination in all areas of their lives from Israel, which defines itself as a Jewish state.

    "There's about 1.7 Palestinians who have to live under the state of Israel as Israelis who carry Israeli passports, all of whom live as second- and third-class citizens with different laws within the state of Israel, that dictate how Jewish citizens are treated and what their rights are versus how non-Jewish citizens are treated and what their rights are," Kiswani said.

    She added that Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza or East Jerusalem also face injustice and deprivation of basic needs.

    "There is no way to dispute the fact that Israel as a Jewish-only state discriminates against all non-Jewish people and [those who] happen to be Arab."

    Kiswani pointed out that opposition to apartheid and racial discrimination is illegal in Israel.

    "There's a new law, for instance, that clearly states that anyone who supports the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS)… that seeks to isolate economically, politically and socially apartheid Israel, will not be allowed to enter the state of Israel. This includes people with the citizenship of Israel," she said during the Loud & Clear broadcast.

    Khalaf, who headed the UN's Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), said UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged her to retract her commission's report after it sparked outrage in Israel and the US.

    Khalaf told reporters in Beirut she expected Israel and its allies to be critical of the report and to pressure the UN secretary-general into demanding its withdrawal from the ESCWA website.

    "In order for the United States to continue to control and repress the world, in order for imperialism to continue to play out, they need their proxy regime, that being the state of Israel," Kiswani said.

    "It's not a surprise that the government of the United States is outraged, because they should be outraged at the fact that they too are complicit with what's happening, and it exposes them just as much as it exposes the state of Israel."  

    Mike Prysner, a journalist with TeleSur who recently visited the West Bank, said in reality it is not only illegal to voice dissent, but simply to be Palestinian.

    "There's absolutely no accountability for anyone who commits an active murder against a Palestinian, but Palestinians will go to jail for the rest of their lives if they don't turn around when someone calls them," he told Radio Sputnik.

    "They have official laws that say it's illegal to take part in a protest, to support the BDS movement… But in reality, the vast majority of Palestinians in Israeli prisons… are there for doing absolutely nothing."

    In recognition of her "courage and support" for the Palestinian people, Khalaf has been awarded the Palestine Medal of the Highest Honor. Tel Aviv condemned the move as an act of diplomatic war, saying it is an "outrageous" decision to honor the former UN official for her "libel."    

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    discrimination, apartheid, West Bank, Israel, Palestine
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