Creating new perspectives since 2009

UN rights official slams Italy’s FM for calling on Israel only to avoid churches in offensive

December 18, 2023 at 9:38 am

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani gives a speech in Rome, Italy. [Riccardo De Luca – Anadolu Agency]

The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories has criticised Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani for calling on Israel not to target churches in the Gaza Strip, while apparently ignoring attacks on other places of worship.

Tajani made his call on X following the killing of two women inside a church in Gaza by an Israeli sniper. “I sincerely appeal to the Israeli government and army to protect Christian places of worship in the Gaza Strip,” he wrote. “This is not where Hamas terrorists [sic] hide.”

Francesca Albanese replied to Tajani’s post by saying: “Your Excellency Minister Antonio Tajani, in this case you have no problem if Israel bombs hospitals, schools, mosques and entire residential communities, right? As you know, tens of thousands of people were killed in the bombing, most of them women and children. These are international crimes, Your Excellency the Minister.”

The Media Office of the Latin Patriarchate in Palestine announced on Saturday that an Israeli sniper had deliberately shot and killed a mother and her daughter, and wounded seven others in the Holy Family Church in Gaza City. The Patriarchate also stated that Israeli artillery “targeted the monastery of Mother Teresa nuns in Gaza City, which houses more than 54 people with disabilities and is within the church’s walls.”

The Israeli army has been waging a devastating war on Palestinians in Gaza since 7 October, killing more than 18,800 Palestinians, of whom 8,000+ were children, and 6,200 were women. More than 51,000 have been injured, amongst massive destruction of civilian infrastructure and an “unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe,” according to Palestinian and UN sources.

READ: Growing concerns over ‘culture of impunity’ within Israel’s military