UN Official Defends Palestinian ‘Right to Resist’ Israeli ‘Occupation’
A United Nations human rights investigator defended Palestinians’ “right to resist” Israeli “occupation” after three days of fighting in which over 1,100 rockets were fired by Gaza militants at Israel.
“Palestinians’ right to resist is inherent to their right to exist as a people,” wrote the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Palestine, Francesca Albanese, on Twitter Monday morning. “An unlawful act of resistance does not make the resistance unlawful. An unlawful act of an unlawful occupation makes the occupation more unlawful (and the list on the desk of the [International Criminal Court] Prosecutor longer).”
Albanese did not immediately respond to an Algemeiner request for comment.
Human rights organizations immediately slammed the Italian lawyer‘s comments.
“As she knows, for all Palestinian groups — Hamas, Islamic Jihad or Fatah — ‘resistance’ means killing Israelis,” wrote Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of the Geneva-based UN Watch NGO. “By inciting to violence as a UN human rights expert, you are a disgrace to the United Nations and the noble principles of its Charter.”
Albanese had previously criticized Palestinian militant groups, writing “Indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza is no acceptable response to Israel’s unlawful bombings, because it harms civilians and it is therefore unlawful too.”
Albanese, who started her six-year appointment at the UN this May, replaced Michael Lynk, who earlier this year issued a report to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) accusing Israel of practicing “apartheid” in the West Bank and Gaza.
Albanese has repeatedly accused Israel of “apartheid,” “genocide” and “war-crimes,” according to UN Watch.
In an interview last year published online by the Institute for Palestine Studies, Albanese discussed a book on Palestinian refugees and the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA), in which she said that “deep down perhaps I feared that embarking on research on a matter on which I had deeply held personal views could compromise my objectivity,” according to a report from The Times of Israel.
Israeli officials criticized Albanese’s appointment, with Merav Marks, legal adviser for the Israeli mission to the UN in Geneva, telling ToI that she was “unfit” for the position.
“I am not antisemite,” Albanese said in a separate interview with news organization Al-Monitor. “I never said Jews are Nazis, and I certainly never implied that I can’t carry out my responsibility objectively and professionally.”
Albanese, who has spent much of her professional life working on Palestinian advocacy, is an Affiliate Scholar at the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University, as well as a Senior Advisor on Migration and Forced Displacement for a think-tank, Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD), according to the UN.
The Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council to follow and report on the human rights situation in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
Israel was in recent weeks joined by some 20 UN member states in condemning remarks by Miloon Kothari, a member of a UNHRC panel set up last year to investigate Israel’s 2021 conflict with Hamas.
Kothari was pressed to apologize last week after describing social media as “largely controlled” by “the Jewish lobby” in a podcast interview, and questioning Israel’s status as a member of the UN.