West News Wire: The UN special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied territories stated on her first trip to London since being appointed last year that Israel regards the Palestinian areas as its colonies. 

Zionist organisations have criticised Francesca Albanese as biassed, and Israeli government ministers including Amichai Chikli have called for her resignation. She is an Italian lawyer and human rights academic. 

The senior UN officials who appointed Albanese last year have been urged by her supporters to do more to assist her. Although she has called the attacks “intimidation, no more, no less,” she asserts that they will be just as successful as “dogs barking at aeroplanes.” 

Albanese explained her position on the Palestinian issue, saying: “For me, apartheid is a symptom and a result of the territorial ambitions Israel has for the territory of what remains of a surrounded Palestine. The colonies are the cause. Israel is a colonial authority that continues the occupation in an effort to secure as much land for Jews-only citizens as feasible. And this is what gives rise to all of the international law infractions. 

If states are truly committed to two-state solutions, as the UK appears to be, rhetorically in my opinion, like all other western states, Albanese continued, “they should ensure that Israel’s behaviour is aligned with the possibility of having a Palestinian state, which means sovereignty from a political, economic, and cultural point of view. The right to self-determination should be the starting point. 

The violence in the occupied Palestinian territory is cyclical; it does not suddenly erupt. Member states must avoid remarking on isolated infractions or instances of escalation. Making ensuring that Israel abides by international law is the only way to fix it. 

In honour of the Nakba, which is Arabic for tragedy and refers to the forcible eviction of Palestinians from their homes between 1947 and 1949, Albanese will visit the Palestinian embassy in London. Additionally, she will consult scholars and meet with Jewish progressive groups and MPs. For the first time in its history, the UN is formally observing Nabka this year. 

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Albanese has been accused by some Israeli groups of equating the Nakba with the Holocaust a charge she denied. “In as much as the Holocaust has been a defining moment in the collective life of the Jewish people, so is the Nakba, for the Palestinian people,” she said. “So I’ve not said that they are the same, simply because they are not. Why would we compare two tragedies?” 

She also refuted any claims that Israel had no right to self-defense. Although Israel has not defined its borders, she said, it has the right to defend its inhabitants and land. However, she added, “Israel cannot justify the occupation in the name of self-defence, or the horror it imposes on the Palestinians in the name of self-defence.” 

The UN General Assembly has received its first report on the right of Palestinian self-determination. A report on the deprivation of liberty caused by what she refers to as the “systematic arrest of Palestinians on security and public order grounds” is then submitted to the human rights council. 

Albanese said “a tragic characteristic” of western engagement in the Middle East was its failure to uphold law without double standards, particularly the UK, which was a colonial power in Palestine. 

“The responsibility on the UK is higher considering the historical legacy of the UK in the area,” she said. “The UK doesn’t seem to be active on this agenda, such as compliance with international law. It is about time there is a paradigm change towards the question of Palestine.” 


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