Francesca Albanese, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, addresses the Palestinian Mission to the UK’s event commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba in London.
The event took place on Friday 12th May at Central Hall in Westminster, London, where the United Nations General Assembly held its first meeting in January 1946.
Albanese reminded politicians in attendance, which included members of parliament from across the house, of the UK’s ongoing complicity in Israel’s colonisation of Palestine. Watch the speech in full above, and read a selection of quotes below:
“The British mandate has innumerable responsibilities, along with the United Nations. In fact, not just for being there during the Nakba, but for enabling the circumstances that made the Nakba possible. And this warrants reflection and action.”
“While commemorating the Nakba, particularly in this country, may lead to think primarily of the United Kingdom’s historical responsibilities, I want to reflect in fact, by virtue of my mandate, on the United Kingdom’s current role and responsibility, or irresponsibility vis-à-vis Israel and Palestine, and the disparaging state of affairs in that tormented land.”
“The United Kingdom, not differently from other European countries and Western states in general, still plays an influential role in Middle Eastern politics, but not for the better and certainly not for justice.”
“Today the prevailing climate in the occupied Palestinian territory continues to be of widespread and systematic violence, maintained through occupation under the pretence of security, which is there just to protect and expand the colonies that over fifty-six years have grown from zero to 270, with a population which has grown from zero to 720,000. Israeli governments policies and the inertia of the international community have worsened the situation granting impunity to Israel, its army and settlers.”
“In this context, apartheid, a word many in this room might still struggle to even pronounce, is a crime. But it’s also the unavoidable, the organic consequence, of the regime of supremacism that even Israel itself does not hide any more.”
“So in this respect, the recently unveiled UK-Israel 2030 Roadmap, the commercial agreements that the United Kingdom maintains with Israel, and even the recent proposals to ban activities calling for sanctions and divestment vis-à-vis Israel, send really the wrong signal, to a country like Israel, at a moment of heightened repression of the Palestinians, the defenceless Palestinian people, under occupation.”
“As a leading nation in International relations and given its past, the United Kingdom should embrace the Nakba as a past and current issue, and embark on a new principled approach which starts with undoing the present as a form of atonement for what has been done to the Palestinians for the past one hundred years.“