In a gesture of escalation in the face of the scandal, the Government of Israel ordered this Monday expropriate the land occupied by the offices of the United Nations agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) in East Jerusalem. In parallel, it prohibited the entry into its territory of the special rapporteur Francesca Albanese, after she made some comments about the attack launched on the Gaza Strip on October 7 that the Israeli authorities considered “anti-Semitic”.
He Israeli housing ministerYitzhak Goldknopf, ordered the director general of the Israel Lands Authority (ILA), Yaakov Quint, to expropriation of land who occupy the UNRWA offices in East Jerusalem.
In a letter, the head of the Housing portfolio asked Quint to put “immediately” end to all agreements signed between the ILA and UNRWA in order to evict the agency from all territories leased to the State, The Times of Israel reported.
The measure would thus affect the offices of the UN agency in Maalot Dafna and Kafr Aqab, located in East Jerusaleminformally annexed by Israel since 1967 and which is part of the Palestinian territories under International Law.
Goldknopf justified his decision by saying that UNRWA “acted in the service” of Hamas, the Islamist movement and terrorist group that governs the Gaza Strip, “and even participated in the brutal massacre of October 7.” “My intention is to put an end to this and kick them out of Israel“he added.
The Israeli authorities redoubled their criticism of UNRWA after it became known that the organization was investigating some of its employees for having collaborated with Hamas in the attacks launched in early October against Israeli territory, which triggered the current war.
Israel's sanction of a UN rapporteur
Francesca Albanese, an independent presumption expert appointed by the United Nations, last week criticized statements by French President Emmanuel Macron, who described the Hamas assault on Israel as “the largest anti-Semitic massacre of our century.”
“No, Mr. @EmmanuelMacron. The victims of 7/10 They were not killed for their Judaismbut as reaction to Israel's oppression. France and the international community did nothing to prevent it,” he wrote in X.
The 'greatest anti-Semitic massacre of our century'? No M. @EmmanuelMacron. The victims of 7/10 were not killed because of their Judaism, but in response to Israel's oppression. France & the international community did nothing to prevent it. My respects to the victims. https://t.co/uiXOkD7HV4
— Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur oPT (@FranceskAlbs) February 10, 2024
Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz and Interior Minister Moshe Arbel They described these comments as “scandalous”announced that she was “prohibited from entering the State of Israel,” and asked that she be fired “if the UN wants to become a competent body again.”
Albanese reacted shortly after on the same social network and redoubled his bet. “Israel's ban is not new“Israel has banned the entry of ALL special rapporteurs on the Palestinian territories since 2008!” he tweeted.
“This should not divert attention from Israel's atrocities in Gaza, which reach a new level of horror with the bombings against people in safe areas of Rafah,” he added.
The UN special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories had previously stated that she was “disappointed that some people interpreted (her) tweet as a justification for the Hamas crimes of October 7, (which she has) strongly condemned on several occasions.” .
BREAKING: Israel’s “denying me entry” is not news: Israel has denied entry to ALL Special Rapporteurs/oPt since 2008!
This must not become a distraction from Israel’s atrocities in Gaza, which are taking a new level of horror with the bombing of people in ‘safe areas’ in #Rafah.
— Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur oPT (@FranceskAlbs) February 12, 2024
“I reject all types of racism, including anti-Semitismwhich is a global threat,” he wrote.
UN special rapporteurs are defined as voluntary and independent experts appointed by the Human Rights Council, to whom they report the results of their investigations. But the UNRWA scandal and the links of its employees led to an escalation and a suspicion about his role in Israel's view that statements like that of the rapporteur increase.