In response to the controversy surrounding the United Nations agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), the Israeli government has taken drastic measures. On Monday, it ordered the expropriation of land occupied by the UNRWA offices in East Jerusalem and banned entry into its territory of special rapporteur Francesca Albanese.
Israeli Housing Minister Yitzhak Goldknopf made the decision to expropriate the land occupied by UNRWA’s offices in East Jerusalem after receiving criticism from Israeli authorities for her comments about an attack launched on Gaza Strip in October 2021. Goldknopf claimed that UNRWA acted in support of Hamas, an Islamist movement and terrorist group that governs Gaza Strip, and even participated in the brutal massacre of October 7. He declared his intention to remove UNRWA from Israel entirely.
The Israeli authorities also intensified their criticism of UNRWA after it was revealed that some of its employees were under investigation for collaborating with Hamas in attacks launched against Israeli territory, which led to a current war. Francesca Albanese, an independent presumption expert appointed by the United Nations, last week criticized French President Emmanuel Macron’s description of the Hamas assault on Israel as “the largest anti-Semitic massacre of our century.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz and Interior Minister Moshe Arbel responded to these comments by describing them as “scandalous” and announced that she was prohibited from entering Israel. Albanese reacted quickly on social media and accused Israel of banning all special rapporteurs on Palestinian territories since 2008. However, he also condemned Israel’s actions against Gaza Palestinians and expressed his belief that they were atrocities committed by Israel.