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UN expert: I received threats and asked not to disclose info on Israel’s genocide

Francesca Albanese, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip

A United Nations human rights expert says she has received threats throughout her mandate of compiling a report about Israel’s genocide in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Francesca Albanese, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, said on Wednesday that she had been threatened during the time she was preparing a report on Israel’s acts of genocide in Gaza.

Her report, titled “Anatomy of a Genocide”, was submitted to the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday. Israel said it “utterly rejects” the report.

When asked whether she received threats during her mandate, Albanese said, “Yes, I do receive threats. Nothing that so far I considered needing extra precautions. Pressure? Yes, and it doesn't change either my commitment or the results of my work.”  

The UN expert, who found Israel committed genocide, did not elaborate on the nature of the threats, nor did she say who had issued them.

“It’s been a difficult time,” Albanese said. “I've always been attacked since the very beginning of my mandate.”

She said in her report that Israel violated three of the five acts listed under the international genocide convention, warning that the overwhelming scale of Israel’s attacks on Gaza reveals the regime intends to destroy Palestinians as a group physically.

According to Albanese, Israel’s executive and military leadership and soldiers have intentionally “subverted their protection functions in an attempt to legitimize genocidal violence against the Palestinian people.”

“The only reasonable inference that can be drawn from the unveiling of this policy is” a policy issued from Tel Aviv aiming at “genocidal violence toward the Palestinian people in Gaza,” she said.

On Monday, Albanese’s seminal report, which has already infuriated Israel, was leaked to the public by a pro-Israeli group.

In late December, South Africa filed a lawsuit against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that the occupying regime has failed to uphold its commitments under the 1948 Genocide Convention.

Pretoria argued that Tel Aviv’s actions in Gaza since the onset of the brutal campaign have been genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnic group.

In its interim ruling on January 26, the top UN court ruled that South Africa's claims are plausible, ordering provisional measures. The Hague-based court also said the Israeli regime must implement steps to prevent genocidal acts and allow humanitarian aid to flow into Gaza.

Israel began the campaign of death and destruction in Gaza on October 7, 2023, after the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas carried out Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the usurping entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

Since then, the regime has killed at least 32,414 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured 74,787 others. The regime has also imposed a “complete siege” on the territory, cutting off fuel, electricity, food and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

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