A UN human rights expert has accused the Israeli occupation of criminalizing the entire Palestinian people and urged the International Criminal Court to investigate it for the crime of apartheid.
Francesca Albanese, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, told the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday that the Israeli policies and practices amounted to a “settler colonial apartheid regime” that deprived Palestinians of their fundamental rights, including equality before the law.
She said that the Israeli use of incarceration, movement restrictions, digital surveillance and land confiscation had turned the occupied Palestinian territory into a “constantly surveilled open-air prison” that threatened the existence of the Palestinians as a national group.
She also criticized the Israeli treatment of the Palestinian Authority, which she said operated in captivity and could not protect its people from attacks by the Israeli occupation forces or settlers.
She called on the ICC to examine as part of its ongoing investigation into the situation in Palestine the possible commission of the international crimes of apartheid and persecution by the Israeli occupation.
She also urged the international community to recognize the illegality of the Israeli occupation and to end it in order to restore the rule of law and justice for both Palestinians and Israelis.
She made her remarks during a debate on Agenda Item 7, a controversial mechanism that requires the council to discuss the Israeli human rights violations at every session.