UN Apartheid Report Will Compare ‘Cost of Israeli Occupation’ With Slavery In U.S.

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The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) has announced an upcoming report that will attempt to estimate the financial impact of the Israeli occupation on Palestine, using the example of slavery in the US.

The Lebanese-based United Nations body, working with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), will soon publish a report that will evaluate “the cost of the Israeli occupation” during the 5 decades they have ruled over the Palestinian territories, looking at examples from apartheid in South Africa and slavery in America, the Times of Israel reported.

The new report may be published in June to mark the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, when Arab East Jerusalem was annexed under Israeli control in 1967.

The biggest challenge is to provide a legal framework for future reparations, which will consider examples from the South African apartheid regime and slavery in America, the Times of Israel reported.

“This research project is complex and will draw from a number of disciplines,” Nabil Abu-Dargham, the head of ESCWA’s communication and information unit said. “It is way too early to be decisive on the duration of research and the outcome.”

As expected, The Israeli Foreign Ministry said Tel Aviv was unfamiliar with the upcoming report, but claimed the ESCWA is attempting to “delegitimize Israel.”  They admit Israel will continue to reject any report that is critical of their actions, regardless of what their actions are.

“ESCWA continues its work, as seen in previous reports meant to delegitimize Israel, work that has been rejected not only by Israel but by other countries in the region and the UN’s secretary general. We continue to reject anti-Israel reports,” Michal Maayan, a deputy spokesperson at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, told the Times of Israel.

“We reject the continuous efforts to delegitimize Israel by writing new reports regarding the situation in the area.”
Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said he hopes the UN won’t allow the report to be made public.

“We hope the United Nations will work to prevent its publication and distribution and posting it online,” he said, warning that the report would “be used by the Palestinians, either in negotiations or even going to an international court and making demands on Israel for compensation, saying, ‘Well, look, a UN agency evaluated it,’” he told the Times of Israel.

Hoenlein does not believe there is any way to figure out the massive cost of the Israeli occupation.

“There’s no way that you can calculate that cost or even define it,” he said.

RT reported that in December of last year, ESCWA said it aims to develop “an innovative methodology to accurately assess the direct and indirect cumulative costs of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”

“This effort is unprecedented in terms of the depth and scope of the analysis. The methodology aims to accurately determine the multilayered cost of occupation across all sectors,” an ESCWA document said.

It also suggested assessing the costs to the victims of South Africa’s apartheid regime and mentioned proposals to calculate the monetary value of reparations to African Americans in the US.

Analyzing attempts to provide reparations for descendants of slaves in the US, the study said that “stakeholders have not identified an effective methodology, thus impeding the achievement of justice through reparations for victims of slavery.”

Another ESCWA report, published earlier this month, accused Israel “beyond a reasonable doubt” of being guilty of “policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid” against the Palestinian people.

Three days after the report’s publication, ESCWA head Rima Khalaf resigned following pressure from the UN Secretary General. The paper itself was removed from the commission’s website.

The report said that Israel is guilty of pursuing a policy of “strategic fragmentation” of the Palestinians as the “principal method” by which Israel imposes an apartheid regime.

It added that Israel is trying to dominate the 1.7 million Palestinians who are citizens of Israel by offering them inferior services, limited budget allocations and restrictions on jobs and professional opportunities. Some 300,000 Palestinian residents in East Jerusalem suffer discrimination from inadequate access to education, healthcare, and employment, in addition to residency and building rights.

“They also suffer from expulsions and home demolitions, which serve the Israeli policy of ‘demographic balance’ in favor of Jewish residents,” the report says.

It will be interesting to see what kind of numbers the new methodology produces.  The Israeli occupation has definitely had, and continues to have, a devastating effect on Palestinian people.

(Article By Jeremiah Jones)

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