UN official condemns Israeli obstruction of field visit to Gaza

Ahram Online , Sunday 21 Apr 2024

The United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, Francesca Albanese, on Sunday expressed deep regret and condemnation after Israel denied her field visit to the Gaza Strip and the occupied Palestinian territories.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry meets with the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied, Francesca Albanese, 21 April 2024. Photo: Egyptian Foreign Ministry


The UN human rights expert said in a UN report in March that there were “reasonable grounds” to believe that Israel was carrying out three of the five acts defined as genocide: killing Palestinians, causing them serious bodily or mental harm, and “deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction” of the population in whole or in part.

According to a statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Albanese met with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, with whom she discussed Israeli practices and policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Both officials, the statement went on to say, agreed on the urgent need to end Israel's attacks on Gaza as per international humanitarian law and human rights law, stressing the importance of ensuring that Palestinians in the strip have full and safe access to humanitarian aid.

Furthermore, Albanese and Shoukry stressed that an end must be put to the increasing violence of the colonial settlers against the Palestinians in the West Bank, aided and abetted by the Israeli forces, and called for holding the perpetrators accountable.  

During the meeting, Shoukry pointed out that Israel’s continued war on Gaza and the increase in illegal settlement practices in the West Bank threatens to blow up the situation in all the occupied Palestinian territories, read the statement.

Shoukry also warned that Israel’s continuing brutal war on Gaza threatens to exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in the strip and spread the violence beyond the occupied territories, thus destabilizing the region and jeopardizing the well-being of its people.

In addition, the foreign minister expressed regret that several countries have so far refrained from describing Israel’s practices as a blatant violation of international law, the statement concluded.

According to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry's Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid, Shoukry reiterated that Israel must stop its attempts to displace the Palestinians and its policies of collective punishment and indiscriminate targeting of civilians.

Moreover, Shoukry said the responsibility for stopping Israel’s violations and rejecting any effects arising from its illegal practices in the Palestinian territories falls on the international community.  

Meanwhile, the UN Rapporteur, who is visiting Egypt and Jordan, expressed deep concern about the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza due to Israeli practices in the occupied Palestinian territories, calling on Israel to honour its obligations, as an occupying power, under international law.

Furthermore, Albanese, who has fulminated against Israel's practices, also affirmed her commitment to continuing consultations with Egypt on ways to alleviate the humanitarian suffering of the Palestinians and highly praised the pivotal role played by Cairo in mitigating the crisis in Gaza.

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