UN rapporteur calls for int'l sanctions, suspensions of relations with Israel

Ahram Online , Sunday 26 May 2024

The UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories Francesca Albanese called for international sanctions, embargoes, and suspensions of relations with Israel for defying the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) order to stop its offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

File photo- United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Rights Situation in the Palestinian Territories, Francesca Albanese.AFP


The UN official said Israel is intensifying its attacks on Rafah despite the ICJ orders to stop its offensive, noting that the news she is receiving from the people trapped there is terrifying.

“Israel will not stop this madness until WE make it stop. Member states must impose #sanctions, an arms embargo and suspend diplomatic/political relations with Israel till it ceases its assault,” Albanese wrote in a post on X.

The top UN court ordered Israel Friday to immediately halt military operations in Rafah, where almost 800,000 Palestinians have fled since Israel's invasion started.

The Hague-based court, whose orders are legally binding, also ordered Israel to keep the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza open.

However, Israel continued its assault, killing dozens of Palestinians in an intensified air and artillery shelling on the city since Friday.

Albanese has long been a prominent critic of Israeli crimes in Gaza since the war began in October.

In her most recent report on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, she concluded that there were "reasonable grounds" to determine that Israel has committed several acts of "genocide" in its war on Gaza, evoking "ethnic cleansing."

"The overwhelming nature and scale of Israel's assault on Gaza and the destructive conditions of life it has inflicted reveal an intent to physically destroy Palestinians as a group," she said in a report, which Israel immediately rejected as an "obscene inversion of reality."

Immediately after the report was issued, Israel denounced it, and pro-Israeli groups called for Albanese to step down from her UN position.

When asked about the blowback at a news conference in Geneva, Albanese, an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2022, acknowledged that although she received threats, she would never step back.

Israeli officials have targeted Albanese over her work, with Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz saying in February he had banned her from entry to Israel.


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