UN rapporteur: Palestinian self-determination is a right with no prerequisites
Self determination is a right for all Palestinians and must come with no prerequisites, the UN's Special Rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories has said.
Speaking exclusively to The New Arab's Arabic-language service, Alaraby Aljadeed, Francesca Albanese expanded on the points made in a report published and presented to the UN General Assembly last month, in which she slammed Israel's "apartheid regime" and "settler-colonialism".
"The right of self-determination is very important and has not been fulfilled [for the Palestinians]. All states have a responsibility to realize the right to self-determination as peremptory norm of international law," Albanese said.
The human rights lawyer criticised the notion that the Palestinians should be made to negotiate for this right, arguing that self-determination itself is a pre-requisite for entering talks.
"In presenting my report to the General Assembly, I asked the audience, from the representatives of former colonies who fought against colonialism and won: 'were you asked to negotiate with your colonisers over the terms of your liberation?' The answer is no. So why are the Palestinians being asked to do so?"
Albanese, who was appointed as special rapporteur in March, also emphasised that importance of terminology used to describe the Israeli occupation, which is used to obscure Israel's violations.
Asked about the use of the word 'conflict' to describe the situation in Palestine, she said: "That's why I think we have to be more precise in our terminology. It is true that this situation is punctuated by hostilities and conflicts, including those we witnessed, for example, in Gaza. But we are dealing here with an occupation that has turned into an apartheid regime. Israel cannot claim to be defending itself."
Some language, she argued, have been used to "sterilise" Israel's actions.
"I prefer to call them colonies and not settlements, because they are colonies, and we should not sterilise the language, but rather describe things as they are," she said, referring to the areas some 700,000 Israeli settlers live in in the occupied West Bank.
Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967 and later annexed it, in violation of international law.
'Settler-colonialism' and 'apartheid'
Last month, Albanese published a report 23-page report presented to the UN General Assembly which criticised Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and urged concrete steps to end the occupation.
The report recommended that UN member states develop "a plan to end the Israeli settler- colonial occupation and apartheid regime".
The report came amid an intensification of raids by Israeli forces on the West Bank in the run up to Israel's elections.
More than 120 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and east Jerusalem this year, making 2022 the deadliest year in the occupied territory since 2015.
Editor's Note: This article has been updated from an earlier version for accuracy, style and clarity