A U.N. official said Hamas is "entitled to embrace resistance" in an interview published Sunday.
"If someone violates your right to self-determination, you are entitled to embrace resistance," said Francesca Albanese, United Nations special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories. Her comments came in response to a question from the Sydney Morning Herald, which asked if there were things that people in countries like Australia do not understand about Hamas.
Albanese also argued that Israel should make peace with Hamas so that it would not be threatened by the terror group.
"It needs to make peace with Hamas in order to not be threatened by Hamas," she said, "which means that it needs to give freedom to the Palestinians. ... I think Israel definitely has a legitimate request in wanting to demilitarize Hamas, but the Palestinians have a legitimate request to not be under Israeli occupation."
Albanese also claimed that Israel is attempting to push Palestinians out of Gaza.
"What’s happening is that under the fog of war they’re pushing the Palestinians out once again," she said, "as in 1947-49, as in 1967, because this has always been the strategy of Israel. They advance militarily, they destroy everything ... and then they push the Palestinians out."
She blamed Israel for Hamas's Oct. 7 terrorist attacks, which killed about 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians.
"Violence breeds violence, and this is what we have seen here," Albanese said of the attacks.
The outlet also asked her whether Hamas should be governing Gaza.
"I think that the Palestinians should choose," Albanese told the Herald. The thing is that you can dismantle something militarily but not politically because, first of all, where is the authority in international law for you to dismantle a political authority or a movement?"
This is not the first time Albanese has made controversial comments about Israel's war with Hamas.
She argued earlier this month that Israel does not have a right to self defense against Hamas under international law because the threat comes from an armed group within "occupied territory" and not "another state." Such circumstances give Israel "the RIGHT TO PROTECT ITSELF, but not to wage war against the state from which the armed group emanates," she said in a post on X.
The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights did not respond to a request for comment.