JERUSALEM, Israel – U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley applauded the resignation of a top UN official whose report had accused Israel of being a racist state.
Rima Khalaf was undersecretary general and executive secretary of the UN's Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ECSWA).
Khalaf resigned after U.N. Secretary General Antonió Guterres rejected her report that accused Israel of being an apartheid state.
Haley praised Guterres' rejection of the report and called Khalaf's resignation "appropriate."
"When someone issues a false and defamatory report in the name of the U.N., it is appropriate that the person resign," Haley said. "U.N. agencies must do a better job of eliminating false and biased work, and I applaud the secretary general's decision to distance his good office from it."
A spokesman for Guterres said the report "does not reflect the views of the secretary general."
Israeli U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon called Khalaf's resignation long overdue.
"Over the years Khalaf has worked to harm Israel and advocate for the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement. Her removal from the U.N. is long overdue," Danon said.
The report, published last week by the U.N.'s Beirut-headquartered ECSWA, made up of 18 Arab states, accused Israel of being a racist and apartheid state.
Former U.N. official Richard Falk, known for his extreme anti-Israel position on a host of issues, was the report's principal author.
PA Praises Khalaf
While Danon and Haley expressed relief for Khalaf's resignation, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said she's the recipient of the P.A.'s prestigious Medal of Highest Honor. On behalf of the Palestinian people, he thanked Khalaf for her "humanitarian and national position."
Khalaf is standing by the report, saying it exposes Israel's "war crimes against humanity."
Senior P.A. officials Hanan Ashwari and Riyad al-Maliki praised the report and denounced its censorship. Al-Maliki, the P.A.'s minister of foreign affairs, called its findings an "objective analysis."
The P.A.'s official Ma'an News Agency reported, "[The PLO] will continue to remain grateful to Dr. Khalaf for assuming a principled and courageous stand on behalf of the people of Palestine."