Nearly two weeks ago, we complained to editors at the Independent about an article by their Middle East correspondent Bel Trew (“Israel is an apartheid regime, not a democracy, says prominent rights group”, Jan. 12) that included the following sentence:
The first time [the apartheid] charge was made was by a UN body in 2017, when UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia concluded that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.”
This was of course an effort to legitimise the B’Tselem report, charging Israel with apartheid, Trew was reporting on.
We demonsrated to Indy editors that the United Nations ‘report’ in question was removed from their website shortly after it was uploaded after Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made it clear that it wasn’t approved by his office, and that the contents didn’t represent the views of the UN.
After a series of emails, Indy editors upheld our complaint, and the following paragraph was added to the article:
While a press release summarising the findings of the report remains online, the report itself was later removed from the UN ESCWA website. At the time Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for the UN secretary-general, said this was “not because of what it said but because no one at headquarters had been consulted prior to the release”. Dujarric said it did not reflect the UN secretary-general’s views. The ESCWA official in charge of the report said she resigned over its removal from the website.
This addendum noting the revision was also added:
This article was amended on January 25, 2021, to include detail about the removal from the UN ESCWA website of the 2017 report.
Last week, we prompted a correction to a Guardian article which initially included an identical claim concerning the alleged UN report.