'Not a Crime' To Kill an Israeli Soldier, UN Official Says

'The killing of soldiers—it's, I mean, frankly, it's a tragedy, but it's not a crime'

Israeli soldiers (Spencer Platt/Getty Images), Francesca Albanese (@FranceskAlbs)
December 21, 2023

A United Nations official said in an interview last week that Palestinians who kill Israeli soldiers are not guilty of crimes because such killings are in line with their "right to resist," in the latest controversial comments by the anti-Israel official.

"If the Palestinians target civilian objects, they commit war crimes," said Francesca Albanese, U.N. special rapporteur for the Palestinian territories, in an interview on the podcast Makdisi Street. "If they target military objects, they do not commit war crimes—they are in line with acts of resistance."

Albanese went on to criticize "Western media" outlets that have condemned "every Palestinian action," including attacks on soldiers.

"The killing of soldiers—it's, I mean, frankly, it's a tragedy, but it's not a crime," Albanese said. "Instead, very often, when Palestinians manage to attack soldiers, they are portrayed as terrorists. And this is a misunderstanding that needs to be addressed."

Hundreds of Israeli soldiers have been killed in fighting with Hamas since Oct. 7, when the terrorist group killed roughly 1,200 Israelis in its surprise attack on the Jewish state. Prior to Oct. 7, Israeli soldiers were frequently targeted in Palestinian terrorist attacks, including stabbings, shootings, and bombings.

Albanese criticized Hamas's Oct. 7 attack because the terrorist fighters targeted Israeli civilians and took hostages. She said, however, that "an illegal act of the resistance doesn't delegitimize the resistance itself."

The special rapporteur has made several comments that have sparked controversy and calls for her removal since Hamas's attack on Israel. Last month, Albanese said Hamas is "entitled to embrace resistance" and argued that, under international law, Israel has no right to self-defense against the terrorist group.

She denounced calls this month for Hamas to release its hostages, calling it an "unacceptable" act of "justifying and deflecting the attention from the atrocities committed by the Israeli army in Gaza."

Albanese has also been accused of veering into anti-Semitism in her social media activity. The U.N. official this month "liked" two posts on X, formerly Twitter, that railed against the "Jewish billionaire class" because the "class" allegedly put pressure on university leaders.

Albanese last year distanced herself from a 2014 Facebook post in which she said the United States is "subjugated by the Jewish lobby."