March 20, 2017
News Press Release

ZOA Condemns Abbas Honoring UN Official Who Called Israel Apartheid State

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has condemned Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas for honoring UN Undersecretary-General, Rima Halaf, with the PA’s highest award, the Palestine Medal of the Highest Honor. Halaf resigned last week after refusing to withdraw a Report commissioned by the  UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), which she headed, accusing Israel of establishing an “apartheid regime” guilty of “racial domination” over the Palestinians. This brazen bestowal by Abbas of the PA’s highest honor upon Halaf for her anti-Semitic report came just after President Donald Trump’s envoy, Jason Greenblatt, met with Abbas in Ramallah (‘Palestinians honor UN official who quit over “apartheid Israel” report,’ Times of Israel, Mach 19, 2017).

 

The Trump Administration has condemned the Report, as did the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, whose office said that he rejected it; that it had been published without any prior consultations; did not reflect his views; and ordered it removed from UN websites. Yet, astonishingly, the PA’s Abbas immediately insulted President Trump by honoring the UN official responsible for this Report, which the Trump Administration demanded be withdrawn and condemned as “anti-Israel propaganda.”

 

Clearly, no possibility of genuine peace-making exists while the PA wholeheartedly supports the defaming of Israel as an apartheid state in a UN report and immediately awards its highest honor upon the official responsible for it.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Quite apart from the obscenity of a report produced by a UN agency absurdly labeling Israel an apartheid state, the extraordinary event in this drama is the PA dictator Abbas insulting President Trump and the US by honoring the UN official, who was condemned by the Trump Administration under whose aegis the Report was produced, and who resigned rather than disown this obscene publication.

 

“Abbas’ conduct in awarding Rima Halaf the highest honor the PA can bestow speaks volumes for his contempt of the US, whose annual, US taxpayer-funded $500 million aid the PA has described as a “right,” and of President Trump, who had just sent in good faith his envoy, Jason Greenblatt, to meet him in Ramallah to see if a process of genuine peace-making can be advanced.

 

“Clearly, no possibility of genuine peace-making exists while the PA wholeheartedly supports the defaming of Israel as an apartheid state in a UN report and immediately awards its highest honor upon the official responsible for it.

 

“It is also particularly insulting to President Trump when one reflects that Abbas told Jason Greenblatt last week that he was committed to preventing incitement and incendiary rhetoric –– a cynical, valueless commitment Abbas has often given before, and never acted upon –– while simultaneously supporting this defamatory, anti-Semitic UN report and honoring Rima Halaf.

 

“This is a stick in the eye to President Trump and the US.

 

“This conduct, while entirely in keeping with Abbas and the PA’s long record, simply underscores that it is high time that US aid to the PA was terminated, immediately and completely.”