Israel dismisses report as 'an obscene inversion of reality'

Contentious UN rapporteur accuses Israel of several acts of ‘genocide’ in Gaza

Francesca Albanese, who has history of antisemitic remarks and appeared to justify Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre, claims ‘reasonable grounds’ to say Israel violating Genocide Convention

File - UN Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese addresses the UN, October 2022. (Screenshot/ YouTube, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
File - UN Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese addresses the UN, October 2022. (Screenshot/ YouTube, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

An independent UN expert with a history of antisemitic remarks has said there are “reasonable grounds” to determine that Israel has committed several acts of “genocide” in its war in Gaza, sparked by Hamas’s October 7 massacre.

Israel rejected the report as an “obscene inversion of reality.”

Francesca Albanese, an Italian lawyer who serves as the UN special rapporteur on the rights situation in the Palestinian territories, said there were clear indications that Israel had violated three of the five acts listed under the UN Genocide Convention.

The report was drawn up under a mandate from the Human Rights Council, the UN’s top human rights body. It lays out some of the most methodical reasoning yet into claims of genocide against Palestinians that have been raised by critics of Israel and others.

“The overwhelming nature and scale of Israel’s assault on Gaza and the destructive conditions of life it has inflicted reveal an intent to physically destroy Palestinians as a group,” she said in the report, which cited Israeli polices and the “patterns of violence” during Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip since October 7.

Albanese’s report accused Israeli military forces and government leaders of having intentionally violated the laws of war and protections that they confer, “in an attempt to legitimize genocidal violence against the Palestinian people.”

“By analyzing the patterns of violence and Israel’s policies in its onslaught on Gaza, this report concludes that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the threshold indicating Israel’s commission of genocide is met,” said the report, titled “Anatomy of a Genocide.”

IDF troops operate in the Gaza Strip in a photo cleared for publication on March 23, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

The war began with Hamas’s October 7 massacre, which saw some 3,000 terrorists burst across the border into Israel by land, air and sea, killing some 1,200 people and seizing 253 hostages, mostly civilians, amid horrific acts of brutality and sexual assault. Some 130 hostages are still held in Gaza.

More than 32,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed during the fighting, according to Gaza’s Hamas-controlled health ministry. The figure cannot be independently verified and includes some 13,000 Hamas terrorists Israel says it has killed in battle. Israel also says it killed some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

Albanese’s report also claimed that Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians had not begun on October 7.

“Israel’s genocide on the Palestinians in Gaza is an escalatory stage of a longstanding settler colonial process of erasure,” it said.

The Israeli diplomatic mission in Geneva, where the council is based and is currently in session, said the report “brings shame” on the 47-country rights body and blasted Albanese for a “campaign of delegitimizing the very creation and existence of the State of Israel.”

“Since the war, she has continued this campaign unabated, excusing and legitimizing the attacks of October 7, dismissing their antisemitic nature and dismissing any concrete evidence of acts of savagery that were perpetrated on that day,” the mission said.

“It is clear from the report that the Special Rapporteur began with the conclusion that Israel is committing genocide, and then tried to prove her distorted and politically-driven views with weak arguments and justifications,” it added.

UN human rights officials have been careful to say that only a competent court can make the final determination about genocide, and that is especially hard during ongoing conflict like the one in Gaza.

A protester waving the Palestinian flag stands outside the Peace Palace, which houses the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, January 26, 2024. (AP Photo/Patrick Post)

Albanese, who has a history of antisemitic comments and anti-Israel bias and has made remarks appearing to justify Hamas’s October 7 massacre, is an outside expert and does not speak for the United Nations.

She has faced calls by a bipartisan group of US Congress members to be fired for her role due to her antisemitism and anti-Israel bias.

The Times of Israel exposed Albanese’s history of antisemitism in an investigation in late 2022.

Albanese said during the 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas that the “Jewish lobby” was in control of the United States. She has also sympathized with terror organizations, dismissed Israeli security concerns, compared Israelis to Nazis, accused the Jewish state of potential war crimes, said Israel controlled the BBC, and claimed that the Jewish state started wars out of greed.

Israel has criticized Albanese after she and other UN-mandated rights experts said in November that Palestinians in war-battered Gaza were “at grave risk of genocide.” In a statement on October 14, she accused Israel of aiming to ethnically cleanse Gaza, while not mentioning the Hamas attack on Israel.

Albanese was banned from Israel in February after she denied that the October 7 massacre was motivated by a hatred of Jews and claimed it was “in response to Israel’s oppression.”

A US official told AFP that Washington was “aware” of Albanese’s report but has “no reason to believe Israel has committed acts of genocide in Gaza.”

She is due to present the report to the Human Rights Council on Tuesday.

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