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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/18/17

Trump Administration Ousts UN Official to Protect Israel From Criticism

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ON WEDNESDAY, a U.N. agency published a report noting that "Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole." Yesterday, the author of that report who has served as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA) since 2010, Rima Khalef, resigned after the Trump administration, working in conjunction with Israel, pressured the U.N. Secretary General to demand that she withdraw the report.

Khalef, a Jordanian national who has served in multiple high government positions, refused the demand to repudiate her own report, instead choosing to resign. The report -- which was co-authored by the Jewish American Princeton professor and former UN official Richard Falk, a long-time critic of Israeli occupation -- has now been removed from the UNESCWA website.

What makes this event most remarkable is how unremarkable is the report's conclusion: it's a point that a former Israeli Prime Minister -- as well as Trump's own Defense Secretary -- have made unequivocally. Back in 2010, Ehud Barak, Israel's former Prime Minister and its most decorated soldier, explicitly warned that Israel was on a path to what he called a permanent "apartheid" state. As he put it: "As long as in this territory west of the Jordan river there is only one political entity called Israel it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic. If this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state."

[...]

Seven years later, Israel is indisputably committed to exactly that outcome. Many of its key ministers do not even support a two-state solution. Israeli expansion of illegal settlements continues unabated. Palestinians are further away than ever from full political rights, or even enjoying the right of democratic self-determination. As Barak himself pointed out, this is the very definition of apartheid.

Yet now, thanks to the Trump administration's self-destructive devotion to Israeli interests -- an odd posture for a President who ran on a platform of "Putting America First" -- it is impermissible for U.N. officials to note this reality lest Israel be offended. In its report on the ouster of Khalef, CNN was surprisingly blunt about what this all means:

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[Subscribe to Glenn Greenwald] Glenn Greenwald is a journalist,former constitutional lawyer, and author of four New York Times bestselling books on politics and law. His most recent book, "No Place to Hide," is about the U.S. surveillance state and his experiences reporting on the Snowden documents around the world. His forthcoming book, to be published in April, 2021, is about Brazilian history and current politics, with a focus on his experience in reporting a series of expose's in 2019 and 2020 which exposed high-level corruption by powerful officials in the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, which subsequently attempted to prosecute him for that reporting.

Foreign Policy magazine named Greenwald one of the top 100 Global Thinkers for 2013. He was the debut winner, along with "Democracy Now's" Amy Goodman, of the Park Center I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism in 2008, and also received the 2010 Online Journalism Award for his investigative work breaking the story of the abusive (more...)
 

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