Palestinian activist hails Israel 'apartheid regime' report

A Palestinian rights activist has praised a report this week by a Beirut-based U.N. agency that promotes development in Arab countries for concluding that Israel established an "apartheid regime."

Omar Barghouti said Thursday that the report published this week by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, or ESCWA, could be the "very first beam of light that ushers the dawn of sanctions against" Israel.

The report — entitled "Israeli Practices Toward the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid" — has drawn swift criticism from the U.N. and Israeli officials.

Barghouti is the co-founder of the Palestinian civil society Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that promotes boycott of Israel.

U.N spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the report was published without any prior consultations with the U.N. Secretariat.