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Israel accused of apartheid at UN Human Rights Council

The file photo shows the UN Human Rights Council in session in Geneva, Switzerland. (Photo by UN)

A number of delegates at the latest United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) session have censured Israel over human rights violations against Palestinians, and accused the Tel Aviv regime of "apartheid."

Among those accusing Israel of apartheid on Monday were the representatives of Palestine, Nicaragua, Qatar (three times), Bahrain (twice) and Pakistan; and representatives of four NGOs, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, American Association of Jurists, Union of Arab Jurists, which also accused Israel of genocide, and World Muslim Congress.

They also bemoaned the removal of the damning “apartheid” report championed by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).

Last Friday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had asked that the report be removed from the ESCWA’s website, a UN official said on condition of anonymity.

Rima Khalaf, the executive secretary of the UN agency, resigned from the UN post after refusing to withdraw a report that concludes "Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole."

Israel later lauded the move, with its envoy to the UN, Danny Danon, thanking Guterres.

UN Under-Secretary General and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf speaks during a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon, on March 15, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

Danon said in a statement that “the time has come to put an end to those using their status within the UN to promote anti-Israel activity.”

Syria’s delegate at the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva said the ESCWA report has exposed “the true face of Israel.”

Moreover, the representative accusing Israel of “apartheid” also complained about the fact that the United States and some European delegations boycotted the HRC meeting in favor of Israel.

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner boycotted Monday's UNHRC session over the council’s focus on Israel’s human rights record during the council’s Item Seven General Debates.

Agenda Item Seven is a permanent fixture that requires the UNHRC to discuss three times each year any human rights violations committed by Israel against Palestinians.

US President Donald Trump is considering withdrawing the United States from the council, which the new administration accuses of being biased against Israel.

The United States is currently an elected member of the 47-state UNHRC, where its three-year term ends in 2019.

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