Israel bans UN Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese from entering Israel after 7 October comments
Israel has officially banned the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories, Francesca Albanese, from entering Israel, according to an official government announcement.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Israel Katz and Minister of the Interior Moshe Arbel said the ban was attributed to Albanese's "outrageous statement" that "the victims of the October 7 massacre were not murdered because of their Jewishness, but in response to Israeli oppression".
The comments refer to the killing of around 1,200 Israelis following an attack by Hamas into southern Israel on 7 October, following months of Israeli assaults in the occupied West Bank, which triggered the war on Gaza.
Since then, over 28,340 Palestinians have been in Gaza, while the entire enclave has been laid to waste.
Albanese, who has been the UN’s point person for the occupied Palestinian territories since 2022, made the post on X in response to President Emmanuel Macron's description of the attack as the "greatest anti-Semitic massacre of our century".
She added: "France & the international community did nothing to prevent it. My respects to the victims."
She responded to criticism saying: "Disappointed that some have read my tweet as "justifying" the Hamas crimes of 10/7, which I have strongly condemned several times. I reject all racism, including anti-Semitism which is a global threat. But explaining these crimes as anti-Semitism obscures their true cause."
The UN Rapporteur also highlighted that Israel has denied entry to all UN rapporteurs since 2008.
Thank you Craig. The present is painfully revealing. I refuse to be intimidated by those complicit in the perpetuation of the #Nakba –forced displacement, killing & grave harm aimed at preventing return.Denial won't erase the tragedy,as history repeats with even greater ferocity. https://t.co/A9MqqJm8O5— Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur oPt (@FranceskAlbs) February 12, 2024
Albanese has been an outspoken critic of Israel and has previously described the treatment of Palestinians as tantamount to apartheid.
In a post on X on Monday, Albanese said: "I refuse to be intimidated by those complicit in the perpetuation of the #Nakba."
Ministers Katz and Moshe Arbel issued a joint comment regarding her ban: "The era in which Jews remain silent is over. If the UN wants to return to being a relevant body, its leaders must publicly repudiate the Special Rapporteur's antisemitic remarks and fire her immediately.
"Preventing her from entering Israel might serve as a reminder of the real reason behind Hamas' slaughter of babies, women and the elderly."
The press release said Albanese had been refused visas from Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority for "some time".