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UN rapporteur: Israel does not want any witnesses to the genocide in Gaza

March 19, 2024 at 11:25 am

Francesca Albanese on January 03, 2024 in Ariano Irpino, Italy. [Ivan Romano/Getty Images]

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories, Francesca Albanese, commented on Tel Aviv’s decision to prevent UNRWA Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini, from entering Gaza by saying, “Israel wants no witnesses, no truth-tellers.”

On her account on X, Albanese said “The highest number of people ever recorded as facing human-made famine, along with mass killings, constant harm & creation of conditions that gut life of humanity has a name: Genocide.”

Earlier Monday, Lazzarini announced in a post on X that Israel had refused his entry to the Gaza Strip, “on the day new data is out on famine in #GAZA,” adding that “Famine is imminent in the northern Gaza Strip, expected to arrive between now and May.”

However, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs claims that news of Lazzarini being denied entry to Gaza is incorrect.

The head of UNRWA said in a press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo yesterday that he intended to go to Rafah, but he was informed an hour beforehand that his entry was denied.

Shoukry added, during the press conference: “To be clear, it was the Israeli government that prevented it, not Egypt, and this is an unprecedented position against a UN official.”

UNRWA was established through a UN General Assembly decision in 1949 and was tasked with providing assistance and protection to refugees in its five areas of operation: Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, until a just solution to their cause is reached.

Israel has long sought to undermine and ultimately close UNRWA as it is the only UN agency to have a specific mandate to look after the basic needs of Palestinian refugees. If the agency no longer exists, argues Israel, then the refugee issue must no longer exist, and the legitimate right for Palestinian refugees to return to their land will be unnecessary. Israel has denied that right of return since the late 1940s, even though its own membership of the UN was made conditional upon Palestinian refugees being allowed to return to their homes and land.

Read: US foreign policy is prolonging Israel’s genocide in Gaza