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Israel treats Palestinian territories like colonie *LINK* *PIC*

Israel treats the Palestinian territories as its colonies, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied territories has said on her first visit to London since her appointment last year.

Francesca Albanese, an Italian lawyer and human rights academic, has faced calls to resign by Israeli government ministers, such as Amichai Chikli, who accused her of “spewing hatred and antisemitism”, and Zionist groups have described her as biased.

Albanese’s supporters have, in turn, called on the senior UN officials who appointed her last year to do more to defend her. She has described the attacks as “intimidation, no more, no less” but says they will be as effective as “dogs barking at aeroplanes”.
Francesca Albanese.

Setting out her view of the Palestinian question, Albanese said: “For me, apartheid is a symptom and a consequence of the territorial ambitions Israel has for the land of what remains of an encircled Palestine … The cause is the colonies. Israel is a colonial power maintaining the occupation in order to get as much land as possible for Jewish-only people. And this is what leads to the numerous violations of international law.”

Albanese added: “If states are really committed to the two-state solutions, as the UK seems to be, rhetorically in my view, like all other western states, they should make sure that Israel’s conduct is aligned with the possibility of having a Palestinian state, which means sovereignty from a political, economic, cultural point of view. The right to self-determination should be the starting point.

“Member states need to stop commenting on violations here or there, or escalation of violence, since violence in the occupied Palestinian territory is cyclical, it is not something that accidentally explodes. There is only one way to fix it, and that is to make sure that Israel complies with international law.”
Palestinians inspect the rubble of the destroyed house of an Islamic Jihad member after Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip

Albanese is due to visit the Palestinian embassy in London to commemorate the Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe, referring to the violent displacement of Palestinians from 1947-1949). She will also meet MPs and Jewish progressive groups and will consult academics. The UN is marking Nakba formally this year for the first time in its history.

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 denied ever saying Israel had no right to self-defence. “Israel has the right to defend itself, its citizens, territory, no matter the fact that it has not defined its borders, but it cannot justify the occupation in the name of self-defence, or the horror it imposes on the Palestinians in the name of self-defence,” she said.

Her first report on the right of Palestinian self-determination has been submitted to the UN general assembly. It is being followed with a report to the human rights council on the deprivation of liberty through what she describes as the “systemic arrest of Palestinians on security and public order grounds”.

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.”

Trinidad and Tobago News

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