The leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement denounced the United Nations on Saturday as weak after the withdrawal of a report accusing Israel of imposing an “apartheid regime” on Palestinians.
A senior U.N. official resigned on Friday after the secretary-general asked her to remove the report, published by the United Nation’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, ESCWA, from the internet.
U.N. Under-Secretary General and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf said she was leaving after “powerful member states” had pressured the world body and its chief with “vicious attacks and threats”.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech on Saturday that the incident served as a reminder of the “truth of this organization, that it’s weak … and it succumbs to the will of the United States and Israel”.
The U.N. is “incapable of taking a stand” and the debacle over the report proved it cannot be counted on “to defend human rights in our region,” he said.
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, also criticized the decision and called on the report to be reinstated.
ESCWA published the report on Wednesday and said it was the first time a U.N. body had clearly charged that Israel “has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole”.
Israel fiercely rejects the allegation and likened the report to Der Sturmer — a Nazi propaganda publication that was strongly anti-Semitic.
The United States, an ally of Israel, also said it was outraged and demanded the report be withdrawn.
Last month, Nasrallah warned that Hezbollah would put up fierce resistance in any future confrontation with Israel should the United States give it the green light to attack it inside Lebanon.
Hezbollah was formed in 1985 as a Shiite resistance group born out of repression against the Islamic sect and defines itself through its struggle against the 1982 Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon which ended in the defeat of Israel and its having to withdraw from the country in 2000.
Many experts on the region say Hezbollah managed to inflict a historic second defeat on Israel when Tel Aviv launched a campaign against southern Lebanon in 2006, which lasted for 34 days and claimed the lives of more than 1,000 Lebanese civilians, displacing about a million people.