Palestinians give award to United Nations official who condemned Israel

Israel's separation barrier dividing east Jerusalem from the West Bank village of Anata

The Western governments are "providing economic, military, diplomatic and political support to Israel, which effectively enables Israel to continue the project of colonization" of Palestine, said Mick Napier, an activist of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign from Edinburgh, Scotland.

Khalaf added that she stands by the commission's report.

Reading out her resignation letter at a press conference in Beirut, Khalaf said: "I do not find it surprising that such member states, who now have governments with little regard for worldwide norms and values of human rights, will resort to intimidation when they find it hard to defend their unlawful policies and practices".

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".

"Based on that, I submitted to him my resignation from the United Nations", she said.

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territory - The Palestinian president has awarded his people's highest honour to a former United Nations official who was forced to resign last week after authoring a report that accused Israel of establishing an "apartheid regime".

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UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric had said that the report was put out on the commission's website without consulting the UN Secretariat. "This is about the secretary-general having the authority to manage the organization in a way that is done effectively and can deliver on its goals".

Israel and the United States did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Khalaf's letter. He rejected the report and ordered it removed from United Nations websites.

US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, reacted to Khalaf's resignation and said it was appropriate, Reuters reported.

Israel's UN Ambassador Danny Danon called the report an "attempt to smear and falsely label the only true democracy in the Middle East by creating a false analogy is despicable and constitutes a blatant lie".

One of the authors of the report was Richard Falk, a former U.N. human rights investigator for the Palestinian territories, whom the United States has accused of being biased against Israel.

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