Foreign Minister Israel Katz and Interior Minister Moshe Arbel announced Monday that UN Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian Territories Francesca Albanese was banned from entering the country after a social media post linking the October 7 attack to "Israeli oppression" of the Palestinians.
The ministers declared Albanese "persona non grata" in the country, although she was already blocked from obtaining a visa to Israel. This action was a response to a controversial X post in which she claimed that "the victims of October 7 were not killed because of their Judaism but in reaction to Israeli oppression" and an interview with The Guardian where she alleged that Israel disregards orders issued by the International Court of Justice regarding the Gaza war.
Ministers Katz and Arbel said, "The era of Jews staying silent is over. If the UN wants to regain relevance, its leaders must publicly disassociate themselves from the special envoy’s antisemitic remarks and dismiss her immediately. Preventing her entry into Israel may remind her of the real reason why Hamas slaughters infants, women and the elderly."
Albanese made the controversial comment in response to a post by French President Emmanuel Macron, who claimed that the massacre four months ago was the largest attack on Jews in the current century. Following her assertion, she wrote that "France and the international community did nothing to prevent it," referring to "Israeli oppression."
According to her, despite an International Court of Justice decision, airstrikes and destruction of civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip continue, and living conditions in the territory have worsened. “The fatalities are not solely the result of bombings and sniper attacks,” she said.
Albanese added, ”They also occur due to a scarcity of medical supplies and treatment, and, most distressingly, due to inadequate access to food and potable water, forcing consumption of contaminated or polluted water.”
Albanese has long been considered a controversial figure in Israel and has been denied entry into the Palestinian territories in the past as a result. Among other incidents, she spoke on a Zoom call at a conference of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders in November 2022, telling senior terror figures, "You have the right to resist occupation."
She also hinted at her opposition to the two-state solution during her speech then, saying to the Gazan audience, "The West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza are what remains of historical Palestine. This language is not new, but it will help the international community feel uncomfortable with a two-state solution."