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UN official: Israel turning Palestinian territories into 'open-air prison'

July 12, 2023 at 3:00 pm

Francesca Albanese (C), delivers a speech during the UN Forum on the Question of Palestine at the United Nations Trusteeship Council Chamber in New York, United States on May 18, 2018 [Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]

Israel has turned the occupied Palestinian territories into an “open prison” through large-scale arrests of Palestinians, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, Francesca Albanese, said yesterday.

“I found that widespread and systematic arbitrary deprivation of liberty of Palestinians is a structural component of the regime that Israel has imposed upon them,” Albanese said while presenting her first report to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

“There is no other way to define the system that Israel imposed on the Palestinians, which is tantamount to apartheid, than as an open prison,” Albanese told journalists, according to Reuters.

By deeming all Palestinians as a potential security threat, Israel is blurring the line between its own security and the security of its annexation plan … Palestinians are presumed guilty without evidence, arrested without warrants, detained without charge or trial very often, and brutalised in Israeli custody.

She also took the opportunity to also address the increasing settlement building and activities that “appear to be part of a plan” to de-Palestinianise the Territories. “Such a plan threatens the very existence of Palestinians as a people and a national cohesive group,” she added.

The Special Rapporteur called on governments not to recognise or support illegal Israeli settlements and to hold those responsible for such settlements accountable.

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