March 17, 2017 / 2:49 PM / in 5 months

U.N. chief wants report on 'apartheid' Israel taken off web

U.N. Secretary general Antonio Guterres address a news conference after holding a meeting with Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta at the State House in Nairobi, Kenya, March 8, 2017.Thomas Mukoya

NEW YORK (Reuters) - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has asked the U.N. regional commission that represents most Arab countries to remove from its website a report accusing Israel of practicing an "apartheid regime" against Palestinians, a U.N. official said on Friday.

The report for the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, which comprises 18 Arab states, concluded that "Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole".

The accusation - often directed against Israel by its critics - has never before been made by a United Nations body. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Wednesday the report was published without prior consultation with the U.N. secretariat.

Israel's foreign ministry spokesman likened the report to a Nazi propaganda publication that was strongly anti-Semitic and described it as "despicable and a blatant lie".

The United States, Israel's main ally, said it was outraged by the report.

The report was still visible on ESCWA's website on Friday.

Reporting By Michelle Nichols in New York; Writing by Angus McDowall in Beirut; Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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