A U.N. agency published a report written by lightning rod human rights expert Richard Falk that accuses Israel of imposing an "apartheid regime" of racial discrimination on the Palestinian people.
The report commissioned by the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) concluded "Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole." The accusation - often directed at Israel by its critics - is fiercely rejected by the Jewish state.
ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf said the report was the "first of its type" from a U.N body that "clearly and frankly concludes that Israeli is a racist state that has established an apartheid system that persecutes the Palestinian people."
The report said it had established on the "basis of scholarly inquiry and overwhelming evidence, that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid."
It was authored by Falk, who is Jewish, a former U.N. human rights investigator for the Palestinian territories, and Virginia Tilley, professor of political science at Southern Illinois University.
Before leaving his post as U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories in 2014, Falk said Israeli policies bore unacceptable characteristics of colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing.