newsIsrael at War

UN officials say IDF used ‘perfidious’ tactics during hostage rescue

U.N. special rapporteur Francesca Albanese accused Israel of "genocidal intent turned into action."

Francesca Albanese, U.N. special rapporteur, briefs reporters at U.N. headquarters. Credit: Loey Felipe/U.N. Photo.
Francesca Albanese, U.N. special rapporteur, briefs reporters at U.N. headquarters. Credit: Loey Felipe/U.N. Photo.

A pair of U.N. special rapporteurs on Saturday criticized the Israeli military’s rescue operation in the Gaza Strip earlier in the day, saying it had caused too many civilian casualties and that its tactics were illegitimate.

Francesca Albanese, the U.N. special rapporteur for Palestinian-controlled territories, tweeted that she was “relieved” four hostages had been “released.” However, she went on to state that the operation “should not have come at the expense of at least 200 Palestinians, including children, killed and over 400 injured by Israel and allegedly foreign soldiers, while perfidiously hiding in an aid truck.”

The figures cited by Albanese, who has a long-documented history of anti-Israel and antisemitic rhetoric, including outright support for Hamas, come from the terrorist organization that runs the Gaza Health Ministry.

According to Israeli officials, the extraction force came under heavy fire during the operation, leading to a firefight in the heavily populated Nuseirat neighborhood. Hamas forces fired rocket-propelled grenades at the extraction teams and hostages from within civilian buildings, according to the IDF spokesperson.

The IDF has also disputed the claim that an aid truck was used during the operation, claiming that a civilian vehicle was used to transport soldiers into the camp.

Albanese went on to assert that “Israel could have freed all hostages, alive and intact, eight months ago when the first ceasefire and hostage exchange was put on the table. Yet, Israel refused in order to continue to destroy Gaza and the Palestinians as a people,” calling it “genocidal intent turned into action.” 

The United States, which was deeply involved in the negotiations that led to the temporary ceasefire in November, confirmed that Hamas violated its terms.

U.S. President Joe Biden has also rejected accusations of genocide leveled at Israel over its campaign against Hamas.

Balakrishnan Rajagopal, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to housing, tweeted on Saturday that “Countries that celebrate the release of four Israeli hostages without saying a word about the hundreds of Palestinians killed and thousands held in arbitrary detention by Israel, have lost moral credibility for generations and don’t deserve to be on any U.N. human rights body.”

The U.N. Human Rights Council, which appoints special rapporteurs, has long been criticized for including some of the world’s worst human rights offenders, including current members such as China, Cuba and Eritrea.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres wrote on Saturday that he had “sent messages” to the families of rescued hostages Noa Argamani and Shlomo Ziv, whose families he met with last week, “to express my relief that they and two other hostages are now free.”

“I renew my appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages and for an end to this war,” he added.

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