Israeli-Palestine Crisis catastrophe Of Epic Proportions: UN Expert

UNITED NATIONS, (APP – UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 31st Oct, 2023) The deadly retaliatory Israeli assault on the besieged Gaza Strip is a “political and humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions”, the UN’s human rights expert for the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) has said.

In an interview with UN News, a news website, the UN Human Rights Council-appointed expert, Francesca Albanese, said that since October 7 the Israelis had been “recklessly bombarded with an average of 6,000 bombs launched per week”.

Over 7,700 Palestinians had been killed since the Israeli bombing campaign began, with more than 19,740 injured, said the UN aid coordination office (OCHA) on Saturday, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza.

UNICEF, the children’s fund, reported earlier in the week that nearly 2,400 children were among the dead in Gaza, with women and children accounting for 66 per cent of the casualties.

“All schools have been targeted one way or another,” Ms Albanese said.

“Schools have been hit by the bombings, hospitals have been hit by the bombings, and there has been a tightening of the blockade. Israeli leaders, one way or another, are blaming and holding all Palestinians in Gaza responsible and are punishing all Palestinians in Gaza for what Hamas and other military groups have done,” she added.

The human rights expert also criticized Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian lands and the mistreatment of Palestinians.

“We are talking of an occupying power. Israel is an occupying power vis a vis the Palestinians. There is no independent and sovereign Palestinian state,” said Ms. Albanese.

“The occupation has been the vehicle to colonize, brutalize, arbitrarily arrest and detain and to carry out summary executions against the Palestinian people.”

She also criticised the international community for not doing more to end the illegal occupation.

“Has the international community ever stopped this protracted illegality? No.

This is why I keep on saying the international community has a huge, huge responsibility in the catastrophe that is now unfolding.”

The rights expert said, “What Israel is doing is considered by some member states legitimate self-defence, which it is not. Because how can it be self-defence, the bombing, the carpet bombing of an entire population under a very opaque and vague objective of eradicating Hamas?”

“The right to resist is guaranteed under international law, although this resistance does have limits.”

The rights expert emphasized that resistance had rules and limits, and they were the same that apply to any warring parties. “So, each actor engaging as part of the resistance becomes responsible for the choice of actions and methods of engagement. And killing civilians is never permitted under international law.”

Ms Albanese criticized the Israeli government’s continued dehumanization of Palestinian civilians.

“It manifests in the statements of various Israeli political leaders who have referred to the Palestinians as human animals, as deserving the treatment they are receiving because they are all responsible for what Hamas is doing,” she said

“[Israeli politician] Naftali Bennett has inferred that there are no civilians in Gaza, that even babies become a legitimate target. How can it be? How can it be? How can you hold a newborn responsible?”

The international community had failed to provide adequate support for ending hostilities between Israel and Palestine, argued Ms. Albanese.

She also criticized Western countries for their unwavering support of Israel despite its human rights violations.

“Western countries have, with a few exceptions, rallied around Israel, basically supporting what Israel is doing, self-defence. What Israel does should be in line with international [law]. But it’s not.”
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