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UN Official Criticizes Israel for Refusing Her Visit to Gaza Strip

April 22, 2024

The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Francesca Albanese, expressed her regret and ‘condemnation for her inability to conduct a field visit to the Gaza Strip’ after Israel rejected her visit.

While Albanese is on a regional tour that includes Jordan and Egypt, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, welcomed her at the General Secretariat headquarters on 21 April.

The meeting, attended by Egypt’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Sameh Shoukry, was organized to discuss the humanitarian situation in Gaza in light of the months-long Israeli crimes against Palestinians, as well as Israeli practices and policies in occupied Palestine.

Israel’s decline of Albanese’s request to visit the Gaza Strip comes after she received criticism for her ‘anti-semitic’ report. The report, ‘Anatomy of a Genocide,’ is a dialogue with the UN Member States.

“There are reasonable grounds to believe that the threshold indicating the commission of the crime of genocide…has been met,” she stated in the report. “For over 76 years, this process has oppressed the Palestinians as a people in every way imaginable, crushing their inalienable right to self-determination demographically, economically, territorially, culturally and politically.” 

Israel refrained from participating in the discussion, but stated that it “utterly rejects” the report in a press release, and called it “an obscene inversion of reality.”

Aboul Gheit extended his support and sympathy towards Albanese in the face of campaigns accusing her of anti-semitism. He affirmed that these campaigns have a clear goal, which is for Israel to silence any voice speaking independently and objectively about the massacre it perpetuates against civilians in Gaza.

During the meeting, Shoukry and Albanese emphasized the importance of ending Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip in compliance with international human rights law and international humanitarian law, according to the Ambassador and Spokesperson for the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Abu Zeid.

They stressed the need to ensure the full and safe delivery of humanitarian aid and stop the escalating violence by settlers in the West Bank.

The continuation of the Israeli war, Israeli attacks, and illegal settlement practices in the West Bank, increase the risk of escalating tensions in the occupied territories, and exacerbating the humanitarian crisis, which ultimately threatens to spread violence across the region, as stated by the Minister.

Albanese expressed deep concern over the catastrophic humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people in light of Israeli practices, calling on Israel to comply with its obligations under international law.

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