The U.N. special rapporteur to the occupied Palestinian territory claimed this week that Israel does not have a right to self-defense against Hamas under international law and accused the country of committing ‘war crimes.’
The comments from Francesca Albanese came Tuesday during an address to the National Press Club of Australia, when she deemed Israel’s right to self-defense ‘non-existent’ under international law as she took aim at the war-torn country for its ‘unrelenting bombardment of Gaza’ and other actions.
Israel, according to Albanese, cannot claim a right to self-defense because they are not under threat from another state.
‘Israel cannot claim the right of self-defense against a threat that emanates from a territory it occupies, from a territory that is under belligerent occupation,’ Albanese said from the event in Canberra, Australia.
‘What Israel was allowed to do was to act to establish law and order, to repel the attack, neutralize whomever was carrying out the attacks and then proceed with law and order measures … not waging a war,’ she added.
Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, slammed Albanese’s comments, saying they go ‘hand-in-hand with all her other legally-indefensible claims’ surrounding the conflict.
‘Starting from October 7th until now, no major U.N. actor has said plainly that Israel has a right of self-defense. This is despite the fact that the U.N. Charter unambiguously declares every U.N. member has the inherent right of self-defense,’ Bayefsky claimed in an email to Fox News Digital. ‘In the deafening silence, anti-Israel and antisemitic extremists hiding under the titles of U.N. ‘experts,’ have gone on the offensive and proclaimed that Israel has no U.N. Charter right of self-defense against the barbaric Palestinian terrorists who slaughtered and butchered their people. The Nazis said the same thing of their Jewish victims.’
‘Albanese’s abhorrent remarks go hand-in-hand with all her other legally-indefensible claims, such as defending a Palestinian ‘right to resist’ that ‘requires violence.’ Likewise, Navi Pillay, head of a U.N. so-called ‘Commission of Inquiry’ against Israel created back in 2021, has repeatedly spoken since October 7th of a Palestinian right of ‘armed struggle.’ These aren’t misguided lawyers. They are champions of hate, of antisemitism, of lethal violence against the Jewish people. It is an atrocity that they are given U.N. titles and a global platform of any kind at all,’ Bayefsky added.
Albanese claimed Israel’s actions toward the Palestinian people in Gaza, which have been relentless since Hamas terrorists invaded Israel on Oct. 7, are ‘wrong.’
‘How many more people need to die,’ she questioned at the event.
Albanese also expressed concern over the potential that Israel ‘might commit the crime of genocide against the Palestinian people’ and took aim at the international community in her speech, claiming most state governments are almost ‘completely paralyzed’ amid the unfolding crisis in the Middle East.
‘In the face of all of this, the international community is almost completely paralyzed,’ she said. ‘I am being generous when I say the U.N. is experiencing its most epic political and humanitarian failure since its creation.’
‘Individual member states, especially in the West, and Australia is no exception, are on the margins,’ she added. ‘Muttering notable words of condemnation for Israel’s success at best or staying silent in fear of restraining Israel’s … claimed right to self-defense. Whatever that means.’
The international community’s positioning on the issue, Albanese claimed, ‘epitomizes’ how governments around the world have ‘so ethically failed to promote peace and security for both Palestinians and Israelis, premised on international law, the end of Israel’s 56-year-old patient and the realization of Palestinian self-determination and freedom.’
Additionally, Albanese called for a cease-fire and the return of Israeli hostages, among other things.
She also used her speech to defend the Palestinians, saying they had been subjected to a ‘violent structure of dispossession, confiscation of land, and forcible displacement.’
‘When it is widespread and systemic, [it] is not just a war crime, it is a crime against humanity,’ Albanese said.
Following Albanese’s comments, Austrian Volker Türk, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, condemned on Thursday the rights violations in the Israel-Hamas war and concluded an international investigation was needed.
‘Extremely serious allegations of multiple and profound breaches of international humanitarian law, whoever commits them, demand rigorous investigation and full accountability,’ Türk said in a briefing to U.N. member states from Geneva.
In response to the U.N.’s growing anti-Israel actions, Lior Haiat, Israel’s spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Fox News Digital that, ‘Israel and the IDF operate under international law, if there should be an investigation it should be under war crimes and crimes against humanity that Hamas terrorist organization on the Oct 7 massacre and since then, including the massacre of over 1200 people and kidnapping 239, among them babies, children that have seen their parents murdered in front of their eyes, entire families, Holocaust survivors and an investigation on the use Hamas using the Palestinian people as human shields and the use of hospitals, schools and mosques as cover for their terrorist activities.’
Late last month, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan urged António Guterres to resign, ripping into the U.N. secretary-general for ostensibly rationalizing Hamas’ murder of some 1,200 people, including Americans, on Oct. 7 in Israel.
Guterres said Hamas’ attacks ‘did not happen in a vacuum’ and that the ‘Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation.’ Guterres’ claim was rejected by Erdan, however, who insisted Guterres’ comments were ‘pure blood libel’ and said, ‘This is false. It was the opposite.’
Guterres responded to the criticism against him by noting in a statement outside the U.N. Security Council, ‘I am shocked by the misrepresentations by some of my statements yesterday in the Security Council. As if … as if I was justifying acts of terror by Hamas. This is false. It was the opposite.’
On Wednesday, the United States allowed a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a pause in the fighting within Gaza to pass despite a lack of condemnation for Hamas.
Fifteen members of the security council passed the resolution Wednesday, which calls for a cease-fire for a ‘sufficient number of days’ in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas. The resolution also calls for the ‘unconditional release’ of hostages taken by Hamas during the Oct. 7 terrorist attack.
Twelve members of the council voted in favor of the resolution, while the U.S., Russia and Britain, who have veto power, abstained from the vote.
The Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health claimed last week that more than 10,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, which is now in its sixth week.
Fox News reached out to the United Nations secretary-general’s spokesman for comment.
Fox News’ Adam Sabes and Benjamin Weinthal contributed to this report.