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UN expert in Israel genocide accusation says she has been threatened

March 27, 2024 at 3:13 pm

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

A United Nations expert who published a report saying there were reasonable grounds to believe Israel has committed genocide in Gaza during its military campaign in Gaza said today that she had received threats throughout her mandate, Reuters reports.

Francesca Albanese, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the West Bank and Gaza, presented a report entitled “Anatomy of a Genocide” to the UN Human Rights Council yesterday, which Israel said it “utterly rejects”.

Asked whether her work on the report had caused her to receive threats, Albanese said: “Yes, I do receive threats. Nothing that so far I considered needing extra precautions. Pressure? Yes, and it doesn’t change either my commitment or the results of my work.”

Albanese, who has held the position since 2022, did not elaborate on the nature of the threats, nor did she say who had issued them.

“It’s been a difficult time,” she said. “I’ve always been attacked since the very beginning of my mandate.”

Israel has harangued Albanese, saying she was “delegitimising the very creation and existence of the State of Israel.” Albanese denied the accusation.

Albanese said one of her key findings was that Israel’s executive and military leadership and soldiers have intentionally “subverted their protection functions in an attempt to legitimise genocidal violence against the Palestinian people.”

“The only reasonable inference that can be drawn from the unveiling of this policy is an Israeli state policy of genocidal violence toward the Palestinian people in Gaza,” she said.

Israel’s diplomatic mission in Geneva said the use of the word genocide was “outrageous” and said the war was against Hamas and not Palestinian civilians. In spite of its claims, over 70 per cent of the victims of Israel’s bombing campaign have been women and children, with civilians rounded up, stripped and disappeared from across the Strip. Over the past week there have been numerous reports of rape of Palestinian women by Israeli occupation soldiers, many in front of their husbands and brothers.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the ICJ, which in January issued an interim ruling that ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza. Since the verdict in January, Israel has tightened its siege on northern Gaza and reduced the entry of aid, causing a man-made famine.

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