UN Official Says It's 'Unacceptable' To Demand Hamas Release Hostages

Protesters (Ammar Awad/Reuters), Francesca Albanese (@FranceskAlbs)
December 4, 2023

An anti-Israel United Nations official said Monday that calling for Hamas to release hostages is an "unacceptable" act of "justifying and deflecting the attention from the atrocities committed by the Israeli army in Gaza."

U.N. special rapporteur Francesca Albanese, who is tasked with issuing reports on "the occupied Palestinian territories," criticized former State Department official Dennis Ross for noting that Hamas could help Palestinians by releasing hostages.

"Why not call on Hamas to release all hostages and agree to have its leaders leave Gaza," Ross had written. "They could save Palestinians from paying a further price."

For Albanese, that was too much. Calling for Hamas to release hostages is "putting the onus to end the carnage in Gaza on the Palestinians, including those being slaughtered in Gaza," Albanese wrote, as well as "justifying and deflecting the attention from the atrocities committed by the Israeli army in Gaza."

"Unacceptable," she concluded.

According to the Israeli government, Hamas still has 136 hostages in Gaza, the Associated Press reported Friday.

While Albanese has only served as special rapporteur since 2022, she has already attracted widespread criticism for anti-Semitic and pro-Hamas comments. She argued last month that Israel has no right to defend itself against Hamas's brutal Oct. 7 terror attack and that Israeli counterattacks are "criminal."

In response, the Office of the U.N. Commissioner for Human Rights, which oversees Albanese's office, distanced itself from her, telling the Washington Free Beacon that "the Special Rapporteur is independent and makes her own assessment."

Albanese on Nov. 13 defended Hamas, telling the Sydney Morning Herald that the bloodthirsty terrorist group is "entitled to embrace resistance." In the same interview, she blamed Israel for the terror attack against itself.

U.S. lawmakers have begun scrutinizing the United Nations for its actions during the Israel-Hamas war. Rep. Mike Waltz (R., Fla.) on Thursday sent a letter to U.N. secretary general António Guterres that said U.N. officials are "working alongside Hamas terrorists to hide Israeli hostages," a potential violation of U.S. law, the Free Beacon reported. Guterres himself has come under condemnation for saying that Hamas's Oct. 7 attacks on Israel "did not happen in a vacuum" and that Palestinians have been "subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation."