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Israel ‘creates illusion’ of civilian protection in Gaza: UN rapporteur

Palestinian women and children flee Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip with some belongings on May 15, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories says sanitized jargon used by the Israeli military during assaults against civilians in Gaza is designed to “camouflage” killing.

In a social media post on Wednesday, Francesca Albanese said Israel’s use of terms from international humanitarian law – such as “evacuation orders” and “safe zones” – create the “illusion that its military operations ensure protection of civilians.”

The reality could not be further from the truth, Albanese stated.

Albanese said Gaza has effectively become a zone where civilians are considered expendable and everything is vulnerable to destruction.

“This ‘humanitarian camouflage’ has de facto turned Gaza into a place ‘without civilians’, where everything is destroyable & everyone is killable.”

Albanese has faced a concerted campaign from right-wing Israeli NGOs, papers, and politicians after her open criticism of Israel’s “apartheid” policies since May 2022 when she assumed her role.

The UN official has frequently condemned human rights abuses, apartheid policies, war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by Israel in the occupied territories.

Albanese recently warned Israel’s crimes in Gaza could preoccupy the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the next 50 years.

Separately, the University Network for Human Rights has conducted a thorough legal analysis of Israel’s behavior since October 7, 2023.

“Specifically, Israel has committed genocidal acts of killing, causing serious harm to, and inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction of Palestinians in Gaza, a protected group that forms a substantial part of the Palestinian people,” the group of international legal experts said.

Meanwhile, the United States is planning to send an additional one-billion-dollar military assistance package to Israel despite an earlier threat to halt assistance if the regime invades the southern city of Rafah.

President Joe Biden reportedly informed some US lawmakers of his decision to supply Israel with tank ammunition, tactical vehicles, and mortar rounds. But this will be the first shipment since the US administration threatened to stop weapons transfer.

The US secretary of state had also acknowledged Israeli forces used US-supplied bombs to kill Palestinian civilians.

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