Israel calls UN for disciplinary hearing against official

Israel accuses head of Beirut-based UN, Rima Khalaf, of “modern day anti-Semitism” and pushes for investigation on her misconduct

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor.

Israeli ambassador to UN, Ron Prosor, called for an investigation of the head of the Beirut-based United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia for misconduct, accusing her of "modern day anti-Semitism."

The commission promotes economic and social development in 17 Arab countries.

Last month, Prosor met with Carmen Lapointe, the head of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), and called for a disciplinary hearing against Khalaf.

A letter from the ambassador to Lapointe obtained Wednesday by the Associated Press said "Ms.Khalaf has abused her position in order to promote an anti-Israel agenda, in a flagrant violation of U.N. obligations and principles."

Khalaf stated to the Associated Press in Beirut on Wednesday that she stands by her statements emphasising on "Israel's documented violations of international law against the Palestinian people" and rejecting "the concept of religious or ethnic purity of states."

"I am surprised that rejecting discrimination, and reiterating the principles of equality and justice in the U.N. Charter, can still be contested by anyone," Khalaf added.

Prosor defended his request by giving multiple examples including her support for the June 29 "illegal and provocative attempt" to put an end to Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, a reference dated July 7 in which he claimed equated "terrorism with a fight for 'justice'," and what he called "a hate fueled report" on Arab integration in March 2014 "that once again promotes anti-Israel incitement by blaming Israel for shortcomings in the Arab world."

"Ms. Khalaf's outrageous criticism against the state of Israel and the discrediting of its government undermine the integrity of the United Nations and amount to serious misconduct by U.N. standards," Prosor said in the July 27 letter. "I call on you to initiate an urgent investigation into this matter."

Israel's UN Mission said Prosor told Lapointe during their meeting that "Israel is already fighting against hate and incitement in enough arenas every day" and "will not remain silent" about Khalaf's remarks.

"OIOS is not allowed by our mandate to discuss whether or not it has opened a case, or the status of a case that may have been opened," Lapointe said in a statement late Wednesday, when asked whether her office would investigate the issue at hand.

Last year, Prosor unsuccessfully tried to get Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to suspend Khalaf over “anti-Israeli statements”.

In a speech late February 2014, Khalaf referred to "Israel's adamancy that it is a Jewish State, which violates the rights of both the Muslim and Christian indigenous populations and revives the concept of state ethnic and religious purity, which caused egregious human suffering during the 20th century."

Prosor heavily objected to Khalaf’s reference of Israel practicing religious and ethnic purity, actions similar to that of the Nazis during World War II, and to "the appalling claim" in the March 2014 report that Hitler, being responsible of killing six million Jews, sought to facilitate the emigration of Jews from Germany to Palestine.

Khalaf rejected such claims, stating that she did not say that Hitler sought to create a safe haven for the Jewish people in the Middle East.

"Nothing is comparable to the atrocities of the Nazis, especially the Holocaust," Khalaf said. "Yet this should serve as a reminder for the world of the disastrous consequences of discriminating among people based on their religion or ethnic origin."

TRTWorld and agencies