Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – A United Nations expert said Israel had transformed the occupied Palestinian territories into an “open-air prison” through widespread detentions of Palestinians, an assertion swiftly dismissed by Israel.
Francesca Albanese, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied territories, told reporters in Geneva that Israel had carried out widespread, systematic and arbitrary detention of Palestinians since the 1967 Middle East war.
“There is no other way to define the regime that Israel has imposed on the Palestinians – which is apartheid by default –other than an open-air prison,” Albanese said at a briefing for journalists.
“By deeming all Palestinians as a potential security threat, Israel is blurring the line between its own security and the security of its annexation plan … Palestinians are presumed guilty without evidence, arrested without warrants, detained without charge or trial very often, and rutalized in Israeli custody.”
In a report presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday, Albanese found that since 1967, more than 800,000 Palestinians, including children as young as 12, had been arrested and detained by Israeli authorities.
Albanese, who said she did not visit the occupied Palestinian territories before submitting the report due to “Israel’s continued refusal to facilitate her entry”, also outlined what she called unlawful detention practices, saying they could amount to international crimes.