Geneva, 14 October 2023 (TDI): A UN human rights expert, Francesca Albanese, has issued a dire warning today, expressing grave concern about the potential for a large-scale ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

She called on the international community to urgently intervene and facilitate a ceasefire between the warring parties, Hamas and Israeli occupation forces.

Albanese, who serves as the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, emphasized the highly volatile situation in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel.

She stressed the necessity for the United Nations (UN) and its member states to intensify their efforts in mediating an immediate ceasefire, urging action before reaching a point of no return.

She also highlighted the international community’s responsibility to prevent & protect populations from atrocity crimes, and she called for the immediate pursuit of accountability for international crimes committed by both Israeli occupation forces & Hamas.

As of October 7, 2023, the conflict had resulted in the tragic loss of more than 1,900 Palestinian lives, including at least 600 children, with over 7,600 individuals sustaining injuries.

Furthermore, more than 423,000 people were displaced due to Israeli airstrikes. This crisis unfolded within a population that had already endured five major conflicts since 2008, all while living under an internationally condemned blockade imposed by Israel since 2007.

On October 12, Israeli forces issued an order for 1.1 million Palestinians in north Gaza to relocate to the south within 24 hours, amid ongoing airstrikes. The following day, Israeli forces reportedly entered Gaza to “clear” the area.

Palestinians had no safe zone in Gaza, as Israel had enforced a complete siege on the enclave, leading to the unlawful cutoff of essential resources such as water, food, fuel, and electricity.

Rafah, the only partially open border crossing to the Gaza Strip, was closed due to damage caused by Israeli airstrikes.

The UN expert expressed deep concern that the ongoing events may mirror the 1948 Nakba and the 1967 Naksa, but on a larger scale.

The Nakba refers to the period from 1947 to 1949 when over 750,000 Palestinians were displaced from their homes and lands during the hostilities that led to the establishment of the State of Israel.

The Naksa, which resulted in Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967, displaced 350,000 Palestinians.

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Albanese highlighted that Israel had previously carried out mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinians during wartime, and she raised concerns about Israel potentially justifying another form of ethnic cleansing under the pretext of self-defense.

She asserted that Israel’s military operations had far exceeded the boundaries of international law, and she urgently called on the international community to halt these significant violations of international law to prevent the tragic repetition of history.

She emphasized the importance of time and the fundamental rights of both Palestinians and Israelis to live in peace, equality, dignity, and freedom.

In conclusion, the situation in the region, as warned by Francesca Albanese, poses a severe threat of mass ethnic cleansing.

Hence, it necessitates immediate international mediation for a ceasefire to protect the population from atrocity crimes and to ensure accountability for any international crimes committed.

The ongoing conflict has already caused immense human suffering and displacement, raising concerns about historical events repeating on a larger scale.

The urgency of the situation cannot be overstated, as both Palestinians and Israelis deserve a peaceful, equal, and dignified coexistence, with freedom from harm and conflict.