Last week, Secretary-General António Guterres did something very surprising for a senior member of the United Nations.
He rejected a report accusing Israel of establishing an “Apartheid regime”.
The report was compiled for UNESCWA (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia), a group composed of 18 Arab states, by well-known anti Israel activists Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley, is titled “Israeli Practices Towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid”. An executive summary can be found here. Mr Guterres insisted that the report be removed from the UNESCWA website.
The unsurprising conclusion of the report is that “based on overwhelming evidence, Israel is guilty of the crime of Apartheid, and urges swift action to oppose and end it”.
It is also unsurprising that the executive secretary of the UNESCWA, a Jordanian national by the name of Rima Khalaf resigned, claiming that Israel exerted immense pressure on the UN secretary-general to distance himself from the report, and to demand that it be withdrawn
Secretary-general Guterres acted out-of-character for his position when he insisted that the UN coordinate all its actions through his office. He understands that the UN and its bodies have been using Israel as an excuse not to act in real trouble spots in the world. As long as the United Nations and its various committees, councils, and working groups are focusing on the imaginary issues of Israeli “transgressions”. other regimes can act with relative impunity. There has been, for example, little more than lip service played to the brutal regime in Syria. Yes, some people do protest from time to time, but certainly not to the level that they protest imaginary Israeli crimes.
Someone of a less-trusting nature than I will think that the reason for this sudden concern for Israel is because of the new US government. The Trump government has called into question the amount of time and money wasted on investigating Israel, and has questioned the value of the American contribution to the organization.
Perhaps this can be the beginning of a new day at the United Nation, where the automatic anti-Israel bias will be forgotten.