A human rights expert for the United Nations called for a ceasefire between Hamas and Israeli forces Saturday, warning of mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
“The situation in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel has reached fever pitch,” , U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967 said, according to a press release.
“The United Nations and its Member States must intensify efforts to mediate an immediate ceasefire between the parties, before we reach a point of no return,” Albanese said. “The international community has the responsibility to prevent and protect populations from atrocity crimes. Accountability for international crimes committed by Israeli occupation forces and Hamas must also be immediately pursued.”
The release stated that more than 1,900 Palestinians have been killed since last Saturday, “including at least 600 children.” It also said over 423,000 people “have been displaced as a result of the Israeli strikes.”
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The release comes a day after Israel ordered some 1 million Palestinians in the north of Gaza to evacuate to the southern part of the territory. The U.N. warned that the movement of so many people with a 24-hour deadline would be disastrous. The territory is also facing blackouts and Israel has said it will not allow supplies into the territory unless hostages taken by Hamas into Gaza are freed.
“There is a grave danger that what we are witnessing may be a repeat of the 1948 Nakba, and the 1967 Naksa, yet on a larger scale. The international community must do everything to stop this from happening again,” Albanese said.
The Nakba, according to the release, is “the term for the events of 1947-1949 when over 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes and lands during the hostilities that led to the establishment of the State of Israel.” The Naksa, a similar event in 1967, “led to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip” and “displaced 350,000 Palestinians,” according to the release.